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Search for fisherman under way

Search for fisherman under way

The Rescue Coordination Centre is coordinating a search for a crewmember who fell overboard from a commercial fishing vessel this morning, 95 nautical miles south of Stewart Island.

RCCNZ was contacted by crew just before 9am, and has sent a rescue helicopter to search for the crewman. A fixed wing aircraft is assisting the helicopter.

Both aircraft are due to arrive in the area at about 11.40am. The helicopter left from Southland at about 9.30am and is refueling at Stewart Island. The helicopter has paramedic and rescue equipment on board.

RCCNZ search and rescue officer Graham Warlow says it’s very fortunate that the man is wearing a life jacket, however he is very concerned for the man’s safety.

“The water temperature is only about eight or nine degrees Celsius, which means he’ll only have a limited survival time – four and a half hours maximum depending on his condition.

“It is also very worrying that the weather conditions are very poor, with a 38 knot northwesterly, and five to six metre seas.”

The vessel is named Melilla.

A Sealord fishing vessel, Aorere, is also on its way to help with the search, and is currently about 70 nautical miles away.

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