Tuesday 23 October 2018

Seven survivors found after ferry disappears

Aid supplies are dropped to the survivors Photo: New Zealand Defence Force/Handout via REUTERS
Aid supplies are dropped to the survivors Photo: New Zealand Defence Force/Handout via REUTERS

Michael Silke

Seven survivors from a ferry that went missing in the Pacific Ocean a week ago were found adrift in a dinghy by a search plane yesterday.

The 17-metre ferry with 50 people on board was reported missing on January 20, two days after it departed Nonouti Island on a 250km trip to Betio in Kiribati.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft spotted the dinghy within two hours of reaching the search area yesterday morning.

"The crew has dropped them aid supplies containing water, food and a radio and are currently trying to establish communication with them," Air Commodore Darryn Webb said in a statement.

A fishing vessel was on its way and was expected to reach the survivors later, he said.

"The Orion will continue to search the area, making every effort to locate any more survivors, while awaiting the rendezvous with the fishing vessel," he said.

New Zealand has been co-ordinating the search since Saturday.

The search continues for the missing ferry, a wooden catamaran which ran aground and underwent repairs to its propeller shaft before it left Nonouti Island.

Irish Independent

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