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Crews hope missing men made it to shore

Sun June 17, 2012 7:01pm

SEARCHERS will again attempt to reach a remote, uninhabited Tongan island tomorrow as they continue looking for two Australian sailors.

The men, aged in their 60s, have been missing since Thursday night when their yacht, Navillus, was wrecked off the island of Late, west of Vava'u, Tonga.

Air and sea searches on Friday found wreckage from the yacht, including an undeployed life raft.

Rescuers hope the men made it to shore on Late Island, where searchers checked landing points on Friday.

A more thorough search of the island was hampered over the weekend, with problems finding a vessel to carry local searchers to Late delaying the search today.

Once a boat was found, high sea swells prevented it reaching the island, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said.

RCCNZ has arranged for two vessels to search at first light tomorrow.

The men had called a relative in Victoria, Australia, via satellite phone to say their yacht had run aground and was breaking up.

The yacht is understood to have been en route from the Caribbean to Bundaberg in Queensland.

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