LATEST: A fishing vessel missing off the coast of Fiordland since yesterday may have struck trouble after becoming hooked while trawling, police say.
Search and rescue teams have resumed the search this morning after the a fuel slick was spotted on the water 3km north-west of the mouth of Milford Sound yesterday.
An inflated life raft was later located 12km south west of the oil slick by one of the fishing vessels assisting in the search. There was no-one onboard the life raft but a life ring and some other items were located.
This morning Sergeant Ian Martin, of Invercargill search and rescue, said a Coastguard fixed-wing aircraft from Invercargill would join the search this morning, along with a helicopter that would conduct a shoreline search of the area.
The name of the vessel and the identities of the two people believed to be onboard will not be released until next-of-kin are informed.
Martin said the vessel had been trawling when the skipper radioed another boat and said the vessel had become hooked up at about 11.30am yesterday.
That was when the vessel may have struck trouble, he said.
''The last they heard of him, he was in the process of trying to unhook it,'' he said.
Three fishing vessels involved in last night's search were also believed to have made themselves available again this morning to join in the search effort, he said.
Two helicopters equipped with night vision goggles and thermal imaging equipment were also involved in the search yesterday evening. They stopped searching at 8.30pm because weather conditions restricted their visibility.
Martin said weather conditions in the area were expected to be reasonably fine today.
Yesterday, there were southeasterly winds of about 25 knots and swells of one to two metres, he said
- © Fairfax NZ News
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