Orion to Search for Tongan vessel

4 December 2007, 1.00am

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is this morning sending an Airforce Orion to search for three men reported overdue on a fishing excursion near Tonga.

Tongan authorities have so far been searching without success for the 20ft wooden vessel Kalepi, which left Nuku’alofa, Tonga, at 4pm on Thursday (November 29) and was due back on Friday evening (November 30).  Tongan Police contacted RCCNZ for assistance in the search late yesterday evening.

The Orion will leave New Zealand at first light today and head for the Kalepi’s last known position, about 15 nautical miles (27km) north east of Nuku’alofa.

The Orion is expected to arrive in the area around 8.30am today.

No further details are available at this stage.

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