Search for missing man to continue at first light

7 June 2007

The search for the occupant of a dinghy missing off the coast of Napier will continue at first light tomorrow (Friday 8 June).

RCCNZ mission coordinator Dave Wilson said rescue staff would continue to work through the night on search planning, while Napier police would begin shoreline searches around the Cape Kidnappers area at low tide from around 6.30am tomorrow (Friday).  The shore searches would involve police on foot and on quad bikes.

RCCNZ were also continuing to coordinate with local police and Coastguard on the search, with an area of approximately 2400 square km currently being covered.

The 25-year-old Hawkes Bay man is understood to have gone out in the dinghy from Awatoto Beach, Napier, between 4.00am and 11.45am today, amid strong offshore winds. He was reported missing by a family member who contacted local police.

Mr Wilson said search aircraft and vessels had spent the afternoon looking for the man, with messages also being broadcast to local boaties in the area to keep an eye out for him.  The Phillips Rescue Trust plane from Taupo, which is equipped with radar and camera equipment and can operate at night, had also spent several hours searching for the man after dark.

It was not known what if any lifesaving equipment the man had on board, Mr Wilson said.

NOTE: A further update will be available after 8.30am tomorrow.

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