Canoe found in South Pacific, but no sign of 6 missing canoeists
A traditional outrigger canoe is seen on the atoll of Tarawa in Kiribati.
May 11th, 2011
08:18 AM ET

Canoe found in South Pacific, but no sign of 6 missing canoeists

A canoe that carried six missing people from Tarawa Atoll in the South Pacific nation of Kiribati has been found, but there is no sign of its occupants, including four girls under the age of 15.

The six - two 19-year-old men and girls ages 14, 12, 9 and 8 - went missing Friday when their 9-foot-long canoe drifted out of a lagoon near their village of Marenanuka and into the open ocean. The six were gathering palm fronds for roof thatching when they were lost.

The New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center, which is assisting Kiribati authorities in the search for the six, said Wednesday that a canoe spotted by a fisherman Saturday on Buariki, seven miles (11 kilometers) northwest of Tarawa, was the one the group was using. A search of nearby areas has turned up no sign of its occupants, however, according to a rescue center statement.

A New Zealand air force P3 Orion aircraft that has been searching for the missing canoeists since Sunday ended its mission Wednesday, but the rescue center said a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules will pick up search duties for the next three to four days.

The New Zealand Orion searched a 23,000-square-mile (60,000-square-kilometer) area without success, according to rescue center officer Greg Johnston.

Weather was not forecast to be helpful in search efforts, with a strong chance of thunderstorms through Thursday.

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Filed under: Kiribati • World
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. YIKES!!!

    I hope the people on the canoe are found safe and sound. The article fails to say whether or not poor weather conditions play a role in their demise.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. sandyk

    @yikes you said you hoped they were found safe and sound but then the last statement referenced their demise.... you might inadvertantly voiced how most of us feel in these situations hope for the best but sorta know what the outcome will be.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ron Tiki

    First dibs on the canoe!

    May 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. qbbc

    Looks like a nice place to live.

    May 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. teimarawa

    we must blame their parents for this.

    May 16, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. teimarawa

    without an outboard motor and a sail is not safe

    May 16, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. ross bodle

    Our fly boys do a great job out there but the ocean is not a play ground for the fool hearty as written in a new e-book called Sea Gypsies Down Under to be found on Face Book be in for a free read, great stuff.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |