Yachtsmen still missing off Pacific island after second search day

Yachtsmen still missing off Pacific island after second search dayGetty

An English yachtsman and his Australian companion are still missing after their yacht ran aground off the Tongan island of Vava'u in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday night.

The men, both in their 60s, sent messages to family members on a satellite phone telling them they were in trouble as the yacht was breaking up in fierce seas.

A New Zealand Air Force Orion later located the wreckage of the yacht but said there was no sign of the men.

Rescuers from Maritime New Zealand are hoping that the men had managed to scramble ashore on a deserted island and are still searching for them.

Tracy Brickles of the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre said: 'The conditions were good and the searchers are confident they would have seen the men if they had been within the search area.

'Today, the aircraft will focus on the island to see if the men have reached the shoreline.'

Brickles said survival time in the water was only 36 hours but would be longer if lifejackets were worn.

The men were sailing from the Caribbean to Australia when they radioed for help late on Thursday night after their 50-foot yacht ran aground.

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