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Orion finds no sign of fishermen

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Orion finds no sign of fishermen

3News NZ

The men went missing near Kiribati (file pic)

The men went missing near Kiribati (file pic)

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion is on its way back to New Zealand after failing to find any sign of three fishermen missing near Kiribati.

The aircraft has spent two days searching for the three men and their six-metre boat in the sea south of Tarawa atoll but found no trace of the vessel.

It covered 21,000 square kilometres yesterday and around 42,000 square kilometres today after staying the night on Tarawa.

"The Orion crew are confident that if the men were in the search area they would have been found," Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand's Dave Wilson said.

The men, aged 30, 33 and 41, failed to return from a fishing trip on November 21.

On its way to Kiribati, the Orion's crew made radio contact with a damaged 13-metre catamaran after it lost touch with an accompanying yacht following a storm while sailing from Fiji to New Caledonia.

Skippered by solo sailor, Briton Pete Bernfeld, the Troutbridge had sustained damage to its hull and rigging but its pumps were working and it was headed to New Caledonia.

NZN

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