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Search for missing man after boat capsizes

Search for missing man after boat capsizes in Tauranga in Tauranga Harbour

A search for a man missing after the capsizing of a boat in the inner Tauranga Harbour off Bowentown resumed at first light following the rescue of his four children overnight.

Sergeant Dave Litton of the Waihi Police said the search following the rescue of the four people, two males and two females aged between seven and 23, was a real whole of community response.

"From what we've been able to piece together so far we believe a rogue wave has capsized a 14ft aluminium boat with five people aboard between Bowentown and Matakana Island between 5-5.30pm.

"The four younger people managed to swim to shore on Matakana Island but were unable to raise the alarm until they flagged down a passing boat about 7.30pm and this vessel brought the group ashore and the alarm was raised about 8pm."

Mr Litton said with the group's 52-year-old father still unaccounted for a search was launched which saw a tremendous response from the local and wider community.

"The group were treated by ambulance staff while a Tauranga based rescue helicopter and two rigged hull inflatables from the local surf club were launched to commence a search of the water.

"At the same time 10 members of a Waihi based Mines Rescue unit were transported to Matakana Island to begin shoreline searches there while members of the local Volunteer Fire Brigade commenced a search of the Waihi Beach-Bowentown coast. The search was unable to locate the missing Katikati man and was stood down shortly before midnight and is resuming at first light today."

Mr Litton said the search for the missing man is being coordinated by the Waikato Police Search and Rescue squad and will again involve significant numbers of local people from a variety of organisations.

"Its in situations such as this that the true spirit of the community really comes to the fore and Waikato Police would like to thank all those involved so far.

"At this point it is not clear if all of the persons in the boat were wearing life jackets at the time it overturned but it understood life jackets were being carried aboard the vessel."


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