NZ Defence Force rescues Kiribati fishermen

(Supplied)
(Supplied)

Three Kiribati fishermen, missing for over a week, have been rescued by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

The men, aged from 34 to 47, were located by a P-3K2 Orion aircraft adrift near Tarawa, the Pacific island nation's capital and main atoll.

They had been missing since the morning of May 7 and were spotted waving from their 16-foot (4.9 metre) skiff at around 1:30pm on Saturday.

The Orion crew said the men appeared to be in good health and dropped them emergency supplies of food, water, a torch and a radio.

The fishermen were advised to await the arrival of the Kiribati patrol boat MV Tina Teroai, which was about 112 kilometres south of the area where they were drifting.

They were picked up by the patrol boat around midnight last night.

"It was a successful search that saved three lives. The fishermen did not appear to have any survival equipment so it is fortunate that our Orion found them," Air Component Commander Air Commodore Darryn Webb said.

The Orion also found another skiff drifting near Tarawa but no one was on board.

NZ Defence Force rescues Kiribati fishermen

(Supplied)

The Squadron has conducted four search and rescue operations in the Pacific since January, including three to Kiribati.

Newshub.