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.
Six people - two 19-year-old men and girls ages 8, 9, 12 and 14 - have been missing in a 9-foot canoe in the South Pacific since Friday, but a New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center official says hopes are high of finding them.
The six were gathering palm fronds for roof thatching from an outrigger canoe when they drifted out of a lagoon off the Kiribati island of Tarawa on Friday, officials said in a Radio New Zealand report. They were towing a small dingy to carry the fronds.
Kevin Bamaghan of the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center, which provides rescue services in the South Pacific, told Radio Australia that the agency is confident the canoeists will be found.