A Kiwi airforce plane has today found an overdue yacht headed for Fiji, its third successful search in 10 days.

The P-3K2 Orion spied the 13.6m yacht Dignity, which was overdue by almost two weeks, 852km south-east of Fiji.

Dignity left on May 2 from Whangarei and was crewed by a 67-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife.

It was due to reach Lautoka between May 12 and 15.


The Orion got hold of the couple on the boat, who told them they expected to reach Fiji within three to four days.

The pair appeared in good health and had enough supplies for the rest of their trip. The Orion tested the yacht's old beacon and radio communication before getting back to Whenuapai.

"This mission has once again demonstrated that our air search and rescue capability delivers vital public service both in New Zealand and overseas," air component commander Air Commodore Darryn Webb said.

Airforce Orions and a NH90 helicopter have undertaken four search and rescue mission in the past 10 days.

On May 14, an Orion found three Kiribati fishermen missing for a week off the tiny Pacific nation's main island.

Four days later, two more missing Kiribati fisherman were found.

Then on Monday an NH90 was called in to help with the rescue of 38 people stranded in Central Otago snow on a 4WD track.