Aircraft from Australia and the US Coast Guard will join the search for the missing Kiribati ferry MV Butiraoi that had
an estimated 50 people on-board.
Rescue Coordination Centre NZ and the Royal New Zealand Air Force continue to assist the Rescue Coordination Centre in
Nadi, Fiji and Kiribati search and rescue authorities to find survivors. RCCNZ passed on the requests for further air
assistance to the Australian and the USA search organisations.
The AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) challenger search and rescue jet aircraft will start searching later
today and the US Coast Guard’s C-130 Hercules is due to arrive tomorrow(Tuesday).
The NZ Air Force P3 Orion has continued the search and – as of today – has searched 385,000 square kilometres – an area
larger than the size of New Zealand.
RCCNZ is providing support and guidance to Fiji and Kiribati on where to search, says Senior Search and Rescue Officer
“The Kiribati search and rescue authorities have undertaken a massive effort in conjunction with Rescue Coordination
Centre Nadi. We’re constantly updating our search planning as the area where the people could have drifted keeps
Johnston says the search area is in remote ocean 500 miles of west of Kiribati, which is a major factor in this
operation. Weather conditions have been favourable in recent days.
“We have full confidence in the aircraft and the radar equipment they have onboard. The searchers are guided by RCCNZ’s
drift modelling that takes into account wind and currents and targets their efforts to find any survivors,” Johnston
“We’re working together to assist Kiribati and Fiji as best we can. A huge ‘thank you’ to AMSA, US Coast Guard, our NZ
Air Force colleagues and the crew of the FV Lomalo for helping out with this search – their support is hugely
A Kiribati marine patrol boat with medical personnel onboard – arriving tomorrow – will collect the seven survivors
rescued from a dinghy on Sunday afternoon by fishing vessel FV Lomalo.
The people on board the dinghy were three men – two aged in their 20s and one aged 34 – and four females – three in
their 20s and one aged 14. They are understood to be in reasonable health.
Two commercial vessels from Kiribati are heading to the area to assist with the search. Further updates will be released
when they are available.