Oprah Winfrey (search) has hired a group of ex-Marines to search for "Oprah" regular Nate Berkus' (search) friend, Fernando Bengoechea (search), who was swept away in the Dec. 26 tsunami.

According to "Extra," the team of former Marines will travel to the resort town of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka, where Berkus and Bengoechea were vacationing when the tsunami (search) hit.

Berkus reportedly met the ex-Marines and gave them details, including Bengoechea's exact location when the tsunami hit.

Harpo Productions, Winfrey's production company, also plans to send a producer to join Berkus in Arugam Bay, according to "Extra" — leading to speculation that Winfrey will feature some aspect of the search and tsunami on an upcoming episode of "Oprah."

Berkus, a Chicago-based interior designer, has appeared frequently on "Oprah" and has designed interiors for Barneys New York, W Hotels and other high-end establishments.

A Harpo spokeswoman said she couldn't confirm the "Extra" story.