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Search for fisherman suspended

Date: 19 November 2004

Search for fisherman suspended

The search has been suspended for a crewmember who fell overboard from the commercial fishing vessel Melilla 201 south of Stewart Island at about 8.30am this morning.

Rescue Coordination Centre search and rescue officer Neville Blakemore said: “Every effort to find him has been made, and the search has gone beyond the time someone could be expected to survive in these conditions. Unfortunately the possibility of a successful rescue is now considered unlikely.

“The search has been very, very challenging, with five to six metre sea swells, and in a 40 knot northwesterly. Searchers have covered an area of 105 square kilometres, 95 nautical miles south of Stewart Island.

“The pilots and crews of the helicopter and fixed wing aircraft have done a tremendous job in appalling search conditions,” he said.

Crew of the Melilla 201 have been searching for the crewman since this morning and were joined later today by two fishing vessels Aorere and FV Tomi Maru 87.

The estimated maximum life expectancy is four and a half hours in the eight or nine degree Celsius temperature of the Southern Ocean.

The Southern Lakes Rescue helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft from Southland Coastguard Air Patrol began searching for the man at 11.40am when they arrived in the search area.

ENDS

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