7 Oct 2010

Search for missing Tokelauan boys suspended

6:49 pm on 7 October 2010

The search for three Tokelauan teenagers missing at sea has been unsuccessful so far.

The boys, two aged 15 and one aged 14, went missing from Atafu Atoll in the early hours of Wednesday in a small aluminium boat.

Geoff Lunt from the Rescue Coordination Centre in New Zealand says an airforce P3 Orion has conducted a thorough aerial search covering over 24,000 square kilometres of ocean.

"There was a possibility that the boys may have taken their boat from Atafu Atoll to Nukunonu. But we weren't sure about that so we asked the P3 Orien to do a search between those two islands based on a boat drifting. And we came up with a search area that allowed the P3 to search."

Geoff Lunt says apart from choppy seas, the weather conditions have been excellent.

The search will be reviewed in the morning.