TODAY |

Wreckage found in search for helicopter with three people onboard missing near sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands

Wreckage has been found today in the search for three people who went missing onboard a helicopter near the Auckland Islands south of Stewart Island last night. 

The wreckage was discovered by a fishing boat this morning, Maritime New Zealand said in a statement. 

The helicopter last made contact near Yule Island, at the northern end of the sub-Antarctic island group, at around 7.37pm Monday, Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand's Mark Dittner told 1 NEWS.

No signals or distress beacons have been issued since making contact, Mr Dittner said.

The helicopter, confirmed to have been owned by Te Anau-based Southern Lakes Helicopters, had been travelling to the islands for a medical evacuation off a fishing vessel. The person who was evacuated from the area was transported to Bluff on a marine vessel.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion aircraft is assisting in the search with specialist locator equipment.

Two Otago Helicopters choppers have since been sent to the Auckland Islands from Invercargill to assist with the search.

The missing people were trained for emergency situations and would have been dressed for cold water, and a life raft is said to have been onboard.