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Search finds survivor

DATE: 4 DECEMBER 2007 TIME : 4:30 PM


Search finds survivor

Rescuers searching for the three-man crew of the fishing vessel Kalepi near Tonga have found one of the men alive on a nearby island. The two remaining crew are currently unaccounted for.

A signal fire lit by the man helped the crew of an Airforce Orion which was searching in the area to locate him about 2.15pm. He was found on Hunga Haapi Island, near to the original position where the Kalepi was found empty about 50 nautical miles (90km) north east of Nuku’alofa around 1pm.

The man has been dropped an emergency supply package, which contains a VHF radio and food and water. Attempts are now being made to contact him on the radio.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) this morning launched the Orion to search for the Kalepi, which left Nuku’alofa, Tonga, at 4pm on Thursday (November 29) and was due back on Friday evening (November 30).

The Coastal Trader Sarah Teresa has also now rendezvoused with the Kalepi and found no sign of the remaining crew.

Tongan Police contacted RCCNZ for assistance in the search late yesterday evening. After a delay getting underway, the Orion arrived in the area around 11am today.

A further update will be provided when any new information comes to hand.

ENDS

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