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Update 5: Stewart Island SAR

Update 5: Stewart Island SAR

The Navy Dive squad assisted by the Police Dive squad have been diving at the site of the vessel this morning and in the early afternoon.

The squads have undertaken two dives at the site of the Easy Rider using an underwater submersible device. Using a sonar unit they have collected visual footage of 40,000 square metres and found nothing significant.

The vessel is resting on the sea floor on its side.

As part of the operation, this afternoon, a fixed wing aircraft has been conducting an aerial search of the mainland coast between an area of roughly Riverton and Waipapa Point. Two coastguard vessels have also been searching the mainland coast.

The outer islands at Bluff including the area around Ruapuke Island, is also an area that has been searched by another vessel.

The aim of the searches is to look for anything significant or debris from the vessel.

Police and SAR staff have been fully committed to the operation to date with a large number of resources involved. The search has been going for in excess of 50 hours.

The search teams will be rested tonight and a decision will be made tomorrow as to what the plan is for tomorrow.

The Police's priority is to do as much as we can to bring the missing people back to their families.

This is obviously a very stressful time for the families and they have asked Police to pass on their request that the media respects their privacy during this very difficult time.

We continue to support the families with our iw liaison officers and victim support teams.

The following four people were formally identified to the satisfaction of the Coroner last night and returned to their loved ones.

They are:

Boe Taikawa Gillies (28) of Invercargill

John Henry Karetai (58) of Invercargill

Peter Glen Pekamu-Bloxham (53) of Invercargill

Shane Ronald Topi (29) of Invercargill


ENDS



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