26 May 2017

Tongan fishermen rescued after three days lost

2:22 pm on 26 May 2017

Six Tongan fishermen, missing since Tuesday, were rescued early this morning.

The men went out on Monday near Fonoi Ha'apai and were expected back on Tuesday night.

Tonga police sought help from the New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre and the United States Coastguard to try and locate the men.

The US Coastguard used a Hercules aircraft returning from a Search and Rescue conference in Auckland.

The plane found the boat last night and the men were rescued by a Tongan navy vessel early this morning.

The Tonga police commissioner, Stephen Caldwell, issued a warning to fishers to be better prepared when they put to sea, advising them to check the weather, carry beacons, flares, and auxilliary engines, and have the means to communicate with people on shore.