Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Flares prompt search. (With Audio) Hunter Island, off Tasmania's far north west coast, Australia.

Audio: ABC Launceston reporter Jessica Kidd speaks with Senior Constable Steven Jones about the search. (ABC News)

An air and sea search is underway off the State's north west coast after three flares were seen last night.

The search has begun off the southern end of Hunter Island, off Tasmania's far north west coast.

Three parachute flares were set-off in the area about 10pm (ADST) last night.

Senior Constable Steven Jones says marine police began patrolling the area shortly after the flares were reported by a commercial fisherman.

"We're unaware of whether it's a vessel that's overturned or whether somebody's in the water, at this stage we're unaware of what we're looking for," he said.

The rescue helicopter and a plane are helping police scour a 75 square kilometre search area.

Sen. Constable Jones says there have been no reports of overdue vessels and conditions in the area were calm last night.

"We had a police vessel out that was all last night travelling throughout the area of the flare sightings and from the reports of the skipper on that police vessel the conditions were relatively calm and they were able to certainly navigate around the area very well."

Police are asking anyone who knows of any vessels in the area to contact them.

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