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Three missing Kiribati fishermen found

The New Zealand Defence Force has found three Kiribati fishermen who have been missing for four days in the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Supplied/ NZDF
AUCKLAND, New Zealand-October 18: 5.40pm (RNZI): Three Kiribati fishermen who were missing for four days in the Pacific Ocean have been found by a New Zealand Defence Force’s P-3 Orion.

NZDF spokesperson Darryn Webb said the crew of the aircraft spotted the men shortly after starting their second day of search west of Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati.

The Orion dropped a radio and bottles of water to the men and passed on their boat’s location to a local patrol boat to pick them up.

The men, who had been due home on Saturday afternoon, had no emergency equipment or supplies.

Air Commodore Webb said they should have been better prepared.

“While this brings relief to the men and their families, we hope that this incident reinforces our longstanding message about the importance of having communications and emergency equipment and supplies on private fishing vessels.”

The Orion, which was tasked with conducting a fisheries patrol north of New Zealand, was reassigned on Tuesday to search for the fishermen following a request from the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).

Air Commodore Webb said the search area had been expanded to 48,000 square kilometres in consultation with RCCNZ, from 30,000 square kilometres on Tuesday.

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