Two Kiribati fishermen have been found after a search by crew on an Air Force Orion Photo: NZDF / 23011805
A New Zealand Air Force Orion crew has successfully located two Kiribati fishermen.
The Orion crew found
the two men in their dinghy shortly after arriving in the search area on Monday
The two men had been
missing from Kiribati for six days, with several agencies involved in the
search and rescue operation.
The Fiji Rescue
Coordination Centre requested assistance after the two men were reported
missing. Maritime New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) provided
drift modelling and search areas.
The US Coast Guard
sent a C-130 aircraft to search the area but was unsuccessful before the RNZAF
Orion joined the search.
After finding the
men, the Orion crew dropped a survival pack to them which included water, a
radio, a torch and an activated personal locator beacon to pinpoint their
location for the crew on a rescue vessel.
Kiribati search and
rescue vessel MV Lady Guadalupe was dispatched to the pair's
location to take the men to safety.
This will probably
be the Orion fleet's last search and rescue mission.
The Orions have
provided a range of services to New Zealand government agencies, the community
and in the South Pacific, including search and rescue missions, humanitarian
aid and disaster relief.
They are now being
replaced by four Boeing P-8A Poseidons, the first of which arrived in New
Zealand last month. The other three are due to arrive in the coming months.
RNZAF Base Commander
Auckland, Group Captain Mike Cannon, said the flight was expected to be the
last search and rescue mission using an Orion.
aircraft and the generations of people that have flown, maintained and
supported them have certainly proved their worth over many years of service,
conducting long-range maritime surveillance patrols in a range of theatres.
"To do this
mission, finding two men on a tiny boat in a vast area of ocean, is certainly a
fitting end to the Orion's search and rescue duties and the crew is obviously
thrilled with the result."
Manager Justin Allan said the Orion had been at the heart of New Zealand's
ability to deliver lifesaving search and rescue services across its vast
maritime area of responsibility.
and its crews over several decades have saved hundreds of lives, off the coast
of New Zealand and throughout the Pacific.
people missing at sea, the sight of the Orion coming towards them will be one
they will never forget," he said.