Search & Rescue off New Plymouth Coast

7 March 2007, 8:20am

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is coordinating a search and rescue for three crew aboard fishing vessel Walara-K about 380km off the New Plymouth coast.

RCCNZ was first alerted at 4:41am when crew raised the alarm and activated their distress beacon.

Rescue Coordination Mission Controller, Neville Blakemore, said the18m vessel, operated out of Nelson and owned by the Tasman Tuna Fishing Company, is taking on water.A fixed-wing aircraft from Phillips Rescue Trust in Hamilton was initially tasked to the area and a Royal New Zealand Airforce P3 Orion is due to arrive in the area about 8:20am to take over the search. The Orion will drop additional life rafts to the crew if required.

Walara-K’s sister vessel, Altair III, is on its way to the area to assist and is due to arrive at 11am.  Altair III has been in radio contact with the three crew members who have not yet abandoned their vessel.

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