10 Jun 2015

Lucky rescue for father and son lost at sea

8:15 pm on 10 June 2015

The New Zealand Air Force has helped rescue a father and his six-year-old son who were adrift in an open boat off the Cook Islands.

An Orion takes off to take part in an anti-piracy operation in the Middle East.

A New Zealand Air Force Orion was able to be diverted from Samoa for the rescue effort (file). Photo: SUPPLIED / New Zealand Defence Force

The pair spent the night drifting in choppy seas as they floated further into the open ocean in a small aluminium boat.

Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy said, fortunately for the pair, an Orion was able to be quickly diverted from Samoa to search for them.

The pair were found about 65 kilometres west of Manihiki.

"It was a very quick search in terms of they'd only been missing for a day so we had a reasonable area to cover but it was fairly well known," he said.

"We used our upgraded senses - a very capable radar on the aircraft."

The commodore said the Orion then helped guide a local boat to the area and the pair were returned home.