NZAF Orion back in the sky looking for missing Kiribati ferry

  • 28/01/2018
Air Force Orion.
Air Force Orion. Photo credit: NZDF/Twitter

A New Zealand Air Force Orion is due to resume searching for a Kiribati ferry carrying 50 passengers missing in the Pacific.

Local authorities were alerted to the missing vessel after it failed to arrive in Betio on January 20, having left Nonouti Island two days prior.

The Orion carried out a radar search of 145,000sqkm on Saturday before standing down.

It will resume at daylight on Sunday.

The RCCNZ received a request for aerial assistance on Friday.

RCCNZ spokesman John Ashby says the total potential search area is about the size of New Zealand.

Rescue services have had no communication from the crew.

Kiribati authorities say the ferry underwent repairs to its propeller shaft before leaving Nonouti.

It is not known how much fuel or water is on board but the boat is equipped with a high-frequency radio.