29 Nov 2010

Four missing at sea near Majuro in the Marshalls

4:32 pm on 29 November 2010

Four people are missing in the central Pacific after setting off in a small boat from Arno Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Friday.

Among the missing is an American teacher and three Marshall Islanders, including a pregnant woman, who were believed to be making a routine trip to the capital, Majuro.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says the group was travelling in a four metre fibreglass boat.

He says there have been unsuccessful searches for the four since Friday night.

"Word about the boat got out Friday evening and one local boat here in Majuro got out and spent all night searching in between the two atolls up and down, up and down. Saturday, other boats went out, again mostly in the area between the two atolls. The government sea patrol surveillance vessel got involved late Saturday/Sunday."

Giff Johnson says the fact the small boat was loaded with goods and there were strong winds could have played a part in the disappearance of the group.