Orion sent to help boat near American Samoa

Last updated 15:06 17/06/2013

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An air force Orion was sent to the aid of a boat taking on water near American Samoa this morning, but turned back after a fishing boat reached the scene first and picked up the stranded crew.

Charter fishing boat Last Stall picked up two Americans and a Canadian from the 31-metre boat Horizons about midday.

First reports that the Horizons was in trouble were picked up about 4.30am in Honolulu, and later the crew said the boat was taking on water and expected to sink, Maritime New Zealand said.

Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand search and rescue mission co-ordinator Dave Wilson said three boats had been sent to help the Horizons, which was about 280 kilometres southwest of American Samoa, with Last Stall the first to arrive.

The Orion had been had been due to arrive about 2pm, but was recalled once the crew were rescued.

A navigation warning would be issued alerting shipping to the presence of Horizons, thought to be a long-range support vessel for fishing charters.

It was expected to sink but remained afloat for now. It was not known what caused Horizons to take on water.

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