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Orion To Search For Missing Vessel

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand Media Release

Monday December 29, 2008, 10.00pm

Orion To Search For Missing Vessel

A Royal New Zealand Airforce P3 Orion is to spend the night searching for the occupants of a boat reported missing off the Tauranga coast earlier today.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), has now assumed coordination of the search, which was initally launched by Tauranga Police after one of the people on board sent a text message to a family member at around 11.30am saying they were lost and asking for help.

Two adults and three children are understood to be on the boat, and were thought to be on a snorkelling trip near Motunau Island when they became lost.

Police and Coastguard vessels have spent most of the day searching for the vessel without success. A fixed wing aircraft from Taupo has also been conducting a radar search of the area to no avail.

The Airforce Orion, from Whenuapai, is expected in the area around 10.30pm tonight and will carry out radar sweeps in an effort to locate the group. The Orion will continue to search until morning if necessary.

Weather in the area is poor, with 3-5 metre swells and low cloud, which has meant that conventional helicopters and other search aircraft have been unable to carry outvisual aerial searches.

RCCNZ will continue to assess and develop the search effort, depending on the progress of the Orion search tonight.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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