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Hopes fade as searchers fail to find shipwrecked Australian sailors

by Sail-World Round-up on 21 Jun 2012
The search continues of the coastline of the volcanic Island of Late in Tonga for two missing sailors .. .
Hopes are fading after searchers combed a Tongan island with no sign of two Australian men missing since their yacht was wrecked last Thursday night.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, which is co-ordinating the search, says searchers have completed a comprehensive search of the island of Late, west of Vava'u, Tonga.

The searchers spent the night on the island after being landed yesterday.

RCCNZ said the search team will now be debriefed before it conducts a review of the search operation in its entirety.

Aerial and on-water searching has failed to locate the two men, both in their sixties, who reported via a satellite phone call to a relative in Victoria, Australia, that they had run aground and their 50 foot Bavaria yacht, Navillus, was breaking up.

An emergency locator beacon was activated at the same time, around 10.30pm on Thursday.

The yacht's wreckage was found the next day but extensive on-water searching following drift modelling undertaken by RCCNZ, as well as an aerial search of over 191 square nautical miles by an RNZAF Orion failed to find the men.

A significant amount of debris and flotsam was found in a trail offshore and to the south of the wrecked yacht which was recovered by rescue vessels.

RCCNZ said the police in Victoria are co-ordinating contact with the missing men's next of kin.
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