An Air Force Orion has been sent to look for three fishermen missing in a small wooden boat off Kiribati for a week.



The Defence Force says its crew will arrive at Kiribati about lunchtime.

"Early this morning, the RNZAF 5 Squadron sent one of our P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft to Kiribati to search for three fishermen who have been missing at sea for a week," a spokesperson said.

"The men left Tarawa on 1 November on a 5m wooden fishing boat. Kiribati authorities conducted an aerial search for two days but with no success.

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"The search area is about 3500km from New Zealand and our Orion is expected to get there just after 14.30 New Zealand time.

"The aircraft has a crew of 13 on board and once it reaches the search area can stay on station for up to three hours, with fuel and daylight being limiting factors."