1 May 2014

14 missing at sea off PNG's Bougainville

3:57 pm on 1 May 2014

The Australian Defence Force is conducting aerial searches over a large swathe of the Papua New Guinea islands region, looking for a boat carrying 14 people that has been missing since Friday.

The group, which includes four children, had been travelling from Bougainville's Nissan Island to Buka.

The Bougainville provincial disaster manager, Franklin Lacey, says the group's seven-metre craft would have been caught in 30 knot winds.

Mr Lacey says they have some confidence that the 14 will be found.

He says people lost at sea in the region have been known to survive for long periods.

"We have some confidence that they will locate them. The longest time that we had people lost on the boat was 28 days - 28 days I think we secured these guys. That was back in 2009."

The Bougainville provincial disaster manager, Franklin Lacey