17 Feb 2005

Second New Zealand Air force plan joins Samoa boat search following Olaf

9:21 pm on 17 February 2005

A second New Zealand Orion aircraft is on its way to join the search for a fishing vessel and one life raft missing in the waters of Samoa after Cyclone Olaf passed through the region.

The first Orion has flown to Apia after it located one fishing boat with six people on board, three of whom are injured.

Two other fishing boats are on their way to pick them up and tow the disabled boat back to Apia. They are scheduled to reach the boat in around seven hours.

The aircraft also located four people in the sea and dropped two life rafts and communication equipment.

Another fishing vessel is due to rescue them within the next few minutes.

Meanwhile a US Hercules aircraft is monitoring a second fishing vessel which reported it was in distress east of American Samoa.