10 May 2011

US Coastguard could join search for six people missing at sea off Kiribati

4:13 pm on 10 May 2011

Kiribati's search and rescue co-ordinator, Captain Omirete Tadureka, says the United States Coastguard has offered an aircraft to help in the search for six people missing at sea since last Friday.

The group, from North Tarawa, includes four children.

A New Zealand Air Force Orion has been searching for the past three days but there's been no sign of the missing people, who are thought to have been travelling between villages.

Captain Tadureka says a decision on whether to continue the search beyond today will be made this evening, but he says the converted landing craft that his agency has been using is available for another week.

And he says the US has offered help.

"We will discuss this with RCC [Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre] New Zealand and see what is our next step after today's operation. There's a possibility that the US Coastguard will come in. They are ready to offer their assistance also, but that needs some discussions first."