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Search For Missing Diver Off Boom Rock - Wgtn

Search For Missing Diver Off Boom Rock
New Zealand Police National News Release
2:50pm 8 December 2007

A marine and aerial search is continuing for a woman who went missing while diving with a private party off Boom Rock, Wellington, today.

Sergeant Jo Holden, Wellington Police Search and Rescue coordinator, said an expansive search area has so far found no sign of the missing diver, apart from her rolled up rescue sausage.

Police divers have been called in to assist the Police launch Lady Elizabeth III, Coastguard rescue vessels, commercial boats, a fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters to look for the 38-year-old diver. They're searching a huge area extending from north of Mana Island to Karori Rock and out towards The Brothers in Cook Strait.

Sergeant Holden said the diver, whose name has not been released at this stage, was with a party of four that left Paremata on a private dive trip before 8am today. The woman was diving with a buddy in 15 - 20 metres of water off Boom Rock when she became separated from her male companion shortly before they were due to surface.

"Dive conditions were pretty much ideal," Sergeant Holden said. "The woman's buddy surfaced and was picked up by the boatman. They couldn't see the woman on the surface so went back down to look for her."

The divers became concerned and put a call up on a marine radio channel, and emergency services were alerted.

Two helicopters from Westpac and Helipro and a fixed wing aircraft were put in the air, along with seven boats including the police launch and Coastguard vessels. Specialist police divers joined the search this afternoon.

"The search area is literally expanding by the minute," Sergeant Holden said. "It's a long time to be in the water but we remain hopeful of finding her alive."

The missing diver was in a black wetsuit, with a grey tank, fluro green fins and a brown catch bag.

No further information is available at this stage.


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