Search continuing for missing Tokelauan boys

8 October 2010, 5:00pm

An on water search for three local boys missing in a small runabout in Tokelauan waters is continuing this afternoon but has so far found no trace of them or their vessel.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) was asked by Tokelauan authorities on Wednesday (October 6) to help with the search, after two Tokelauan boys aged 15, and a third, aged 14, went missing from the atoll of Atafu at about 1am on Wednesday. The boys had been last seen some hours earlier, searching for fuel for their small aluminium boat, which has an 18 horsepower outboard motor.

RCCNZ has been providing assistance with search area mapping and coordination. Search and rescue officer Chris Henshaw says a number of vessels have been involved in today’s search, including a Samoan Police patrol vessel and local inter-island ferry the MV Tokelau, which has been searching along the suspected path the boys have taken. Local vessels have also continued to search around the atoll.

A Royal New Zealand Airforce P3K Orion also spent part of Wednesday and yesterday searching the area without success.

Around 21,000 square kilometres has now been covered in the search, Mr Henshaw says.

He says the MV Tokelau and local vessels will continue to search for as long as possible today, with RCCNZ to review the search tomorrow morning.

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