Crew on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion have found two missing boats within 10 nautical miles of each other, dropping survival kits with water and locator beacons to those on board.
Both vessels had been reported missing from Kiribati.
“On Sunday, the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ), on behalf of Rescue Coordination Centre Fiji and Kiribati search and rescue authorities, requested assistance to search for a five-metre yellow-hulled wooden boat which was reported overdue from a trip from Makin Island to Butaritari Island, Kiribati,” Defence said in a statement this afternoon.
The boat, with two men, a woman and an 11-year-old child on board, left Makin Island on Friday.
Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard was preparing to search for another vessel, Woodhaven III, which had been reported missing from Kiribati late last week with three people on board.
“The Orion and crew left RNZAF Base Auckland early yesterday morning to start searching in the vicinity of Makin Island,” Defence said.
“The crew first found the Woodhaven III, which was located approximately 150 nautical miles from where this boat was thought to have gone missing.
“Shortly after, the crew found the yellow-hulled vessel from Makin Island and reported that the survivors on both vessels appeared to be in good health.”
Survival packs containing water and locator beacons were dropped to both boats, and nearby vessels were contacted to rescue the survivors.
Air Component Commander Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said it was a great result to be able to locate the survivors on both boats.