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Search for 10 fishermen missing off Samoa – update #5

17 December 8pm

Search for 10 fishermen missing off Samoa – update #5
An upturned fishing boat hull is being towed to Apia by Samoan Police launch after being identified by the RNZAF P3 Orion searching for 10 men from four fishing boats missing off Samoa following last week’s cyclone.

The vessel is believed to be one of the four missing boats but has yet to be formally identified. No sign of the crew has been found.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) today tasked the RNZAF P3 Orion and French Navy Gardian aircraft with searching around 4,800 square kilometres, the second day of air searching. The Samoan Police launch was also involved in searching by sea.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Kevin Banaghan said the French aircraft would now return to Tahiti, with the Orion possibly available for further searching tomorrow (Tuesday).

“The Orion will carry out tasks for the Samoan Government early tomorrow but may be available to continue the search for two hours after that,” he said. “At that point we will look at all available information and make a decision on the next phase of the operation.

“Both air crews today have done an outstanding job in difficult conditions, with debris floating on the ocean making searching very challenging.”

NOTE TO MEDIA – A further update will be issued tomorrow after 8.30am, unless there are developments earlier.

ENDS

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