High seas today prevented a search for two Australian men missing since their yacht was wrecked off Tonga on Thursday night.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), which is
co-ordinating search efforts, says due to heightened seas around
the islands of Vava'u and Late, the fishing vessel carrying the
search party was not able to reach Late today as planned.
RCCNZ says it has arranged for two vessels to go out and recommence the search at first light tomorrow.
Two full days of aerial and on-water searching have so far failed to locate the men, both in their 60s, who reported via a satellite phone call to a relative in Victoria, Australia, that they had run aground and their 50ft Bavaria yacht, Navillus, was breaking up.
An emergency locator beacon was activated at the same time, around 10.30pm on Thursday.
The yacht's wreckage was found the next day but extensive on-water searching following drift modelling undertaken by RCCNZ, as well as an aerial search of over 191 square nautical miles by a RNZAF Orion failed to find the men.
RCCNZ says it wants a land-based grid-search of Late undertaken so they can be sure the island has been comprehensively covered to determine whether the men had come ashore.
Crew members from the search vessels had earlier landed on Late to check the most likely landing points for signs of the men coming ashore, RCCNZ said.