16 May 2011

Unsuccessful Kiribati search baffles

1:44 pm on 16 May 2011

Kiribati Search and Rescue says it's strange an extensive search for six missing young people failed to find them or their aluminium dinghy.

On Friday the US Coastguard called off its search for the youngsters, who were believed to have drifted out to sea a week earlier after setting out on a canoe towing a smaller dinghy to collect palm leaves.

While their canoe was spotted, the Kiribati Search and Rescue coordinator Captain Omirete Tadureka says searches of 24,400 square nautical miles by a US Coastguard Hercules and a New Zealand Airforce Orion failed to find any further trace of them.

"It's very strange, why there's no sign of the aluminium boat, it's not even detected by the aircraft, the radars, and the missing people. So we suspect that they might have been rescued by some fishing boats or cargo boats because we should have made some sighting of this aluminium boat."

Captain Tadureka says a message about the missing young people has been issued to all international shipping.