Search for missing kayaker suspended

12 February 2007, 7:38pm

The missing Australian trans-Tasman kayaker whose upturned kayak was recovered on Saturday evening off Milford Sound has not been found, despite an extensive aerial and sea search.

ritime NZ Deputy Director Safety and Response Services, Peter Williams, said that approximately 25,000 square kilometres of ocean west of Milford had been searched over the last three days, by plane, helicopter and ship.

“Regrettably, and despite the best efforts of the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) and all others involved in the rescue, we have been unable to find Andrew”, said Mr Williams.

“Taking into account the wide search area that has been covered, and bearing in mind that Andrew has now most likely been in 15 degree seas for around 70 hours, we have decided to suspend the aerial search.

Mr Williams said that both the RCCNZ and the Police had been liaising with Andrew’s wife and immediate family throughout the rescue effort, and that they had been informed of the decision to suspend the search.

Mr McAuley set out from Fortescue Bay in Tasmania on 11 January and was expected to arrive in Milford Sound during the weekend.  Following a garbled message heard on the maritime radio on Friday evening, a search was launched by RCCNZ. An Air Force Orion located the empty kayak at around 8.00pm on Saturday evening.

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