New Zealand abandons aerial search for 29 missing fishermen

New Zealand abandons aerial search for 29 missing fishermenWellington  - A search by a New Zealand Air Force plane for 29 fishermen believed to be drifting in life rafts in the Pacific has been abandoned after three days of fruitless, low-altitude flights, the Defence Force announced Sunday.

The maritime surveillance Orion covered thousands of square kilometres of ocean in the search for crew of the Taiwanese long liner Ta Ching 21, which was found burned out and floating on November 9 near Kiribati's Phoenix Islands.

The crew, reported to include Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipino and Indonesian nationals, are believed to have abandoned the vessel after it caught fire and to have taken to the three lifeboats on board.

The last transmission from the boat was received on October 28. (dpa)

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