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NZDF joins search for two missing Kiribati vessels

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping search for two vessels in Kiribati that failed to return from separate fishing trips last week.

Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft left Auckland at 6am and was expected to reach the search area, 4085 kilometres north of New Zealand, at midday.

One of the missing vessels was a six-metre wooden boat with three people on board, Air Commodore Walshe said.

The second vessel is a four-metre canoe with one person on board.

The Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre, which is responsible for the search area, requested assistance from the NZDF on Sunday after a search by a local patrol boat failed to find either vessel on Friday.

The two missing vessels were last seen by a local search aircraft late on Friday afternoon.



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