Battered boats found by Orion
An Air Force Orion has found two Samoan fishing vessels in difficulty after being battered by fierce storms off Niue.

The Orion left Auckland at 1am yesterday after a beacon alert and found the boats 60km west off Niue.

Rescue Centre mission co-ordinator Tracy Brickles said the vessels were damaged by a tropical storm on Friday and appeared to have lost all power. They were now lashed together.

The Orion dropped a radio to the four crew members on each boat, who were reported to be safe and well.

A container ship in the area - the Vladivostock - was enlisted in the rescue. It reached the vessels yesterday morning.

"The aim is to get them back under their own steam," said Maritime Safety spokesman Lindsay Stuart.

Ms Brickles said the storm had passed the area.