Orion search finds Tongan vessel

4 December 2007, 1:30pm

An Airforce Orion has found the Tongan fishing vessel Kalepi which was reported overdue late yesterday. However at this stage, it has been unable to make contact with the vessel’s crew.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) this morning sent the Orion to search for the 20ft wooden vessel, 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. After a delay getting underway, the Orion arrived in the area around 11am today.

The Orion located the Kalepi about 50 nautical miles (90km) north west of Nuku’alofa about 1pm, but has not been able to make contact with or see any sign of the vessel’s crew. RCCNZ is now arranging for available local vessels to head for the Kalepi’s position and check the crew’s status.

A further update will be provided when any new information comes to hand.

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