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US Coastguard help Tongan fishermen

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

a file photo of a US Coastguard helicopter © Rex Images a file photo of a US Coastguard helicopter The crew of a US Coastguard Hercules has come to the aid of six missing Tongan fisherman on Thursday while on their way home from a rescue demonstration in New Zealand.

The C-130 aircraft was part of a multi-national drill on the waters off Auckland on Wednesday and was heading home a day later when the Rescue Co-ordination Centre of New Zealand was made aware of the fishermens' plight.

The fishermen had been at sea a week and the alarm had been raised with Tongan police.

RCCNZ worked with the C-130 crew and Tonga's police and Navy personnel to locate the men.

They were found in their 12-metre vessel about 90km off the Tongan mainland and the C-130 was able to drop them food, water, a radio and a transponder.

A Tongan Navy ship picked up the fishermen on Friday morning.

The rescue demonstration in New Zealand was the first time a US Coastguard plane had visited this country in more than 20 years.

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