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Orion in successful Hawaiian search

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/07/2016

An aerial search for a missing aircraft in Hawaii, involving an RNZAF Orion, has had a successful conclusion with two people rescued from the water.

The Orion was called in to the search, northwest of Kona on the main island of Hawaii, after the pilot of a twin-engined aircraft radioed about an emergency.

The Orion had been taking part in the Rim of the Pacific military exercises.

The rescued pair spent 22 hours in the water before being found and winched to safety by a US Coast Guard helicopter on Saturday at about 9.45am NZT, a New Zealand Defence Force spokesman says.

They had lifejackets on and were swimming to shore.

The Orion crew were delighted that they had been able to help their US colleagues with the search, says the commanding officer of No.5 Squadron, Wing Commander Daniel Hunt.

"We spend a good number of flying hours each year on such missions and sometimes we don't get the result that we and those at home hoping for good news would like."

The Orion will resume RIMPAC activities on Sunday, operating from its US base at Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Honolulu.

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