3 Sep 2003

One dead, five missing after boat sinks in French Polynesia

4:51 pm on 3 September 2003

One person is dead and five are missing after a French Polynesian ship with 22 people on board sank off Rimatara island.

The Tahiti Nui IV sent a distress signal in the middle of the night before it went down this morning shortly after being spotted by a rescue aircrft.

A French helicopter rescued 14 people and flew them to Rurutu which is about 100 kilometres away from the accident site.

A ship in the area saved another person and also picked up a body of a person who had drowned.

Officials say the 10 passengers on the Tahiti Nui were mainly workers and technicians employed in building an airstrip on Rimatara.