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Search for missing boat


Police have launched a search for a boat carrying two men that has been missing since last night.

The 4.8metre aluminium pontoon boat left Mill Bay, Mangönui about 2pm yesterday (Sunday February 10). On board were 72-year-old Michael Ward and his son, 23-year-old John Ward. The pair was due back at 9pm.

When they didn't return, family alerted Police, who then launched a search.
The Whangaroa Coastguard boat left Whangaroa Harbour about midnight and began a coastline search.

The search covered an area from the harbour to Berghan Point and into Doubtless Bay.

The Coastguard could not find any sign of the missing boat and at first light this morning a fixed wing aircraft from the Kerikeri Coastguard Air Patrol flew out.
It covered the coastline as far as Moturoa Island off Cape Karikari and down to the Cavalli Islands.

Vessels from the Whangaroa Coastguard and Bay Rescue (Bay of Islands Coastguard) began searching again in an area from the Nine Pin to Cape Karikari.

Numerous radio broadcasts have been sent to local boaties, including those taking part in the Whangaroa One Base Fishing Tournament.

The missing boat has a black and red stripe. It has no canopy and has a 70hp outboard motor. The boat had no form of communication, no emergency flare kit and Police are unsure if the men had lifejackets on board.

There have been no sightings of the missing boat. Conditions, both today and when the men left on their fishing trip, have been good with10 knot variable winds and a slight sea.

The search with the fixed wing aircraft and coastguard boats is continuing today.

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