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Update Stewart Island Marine SAR Operation

Title: Update Stewart Island Marine SAR Operation

The body of a 30-year-old local Invercargill man was recovered last night during a major search and rescue operation underway off the coast of Stewart Island for survivors of a 40ft Bluff-based fishing boat which is believed to have sunk with nine people on board.

The man's body, which was taken back to Invercargill, was recovered around 8pm by searchers near to where the boat is believed to be resting on the sea floor to the west of Stewart Island.

Three vessels - one navy vessel and two private vessels - continued the search overnight using downlights.

This morning two helicopters restarted searching at 7am this morning and additional vessels are also planned to join the search today.

The search is concentrating on the area around Bishops and Clerk Islands, to the west of Stewart Island, where the vessel is believed to have sunk on Wednesday evening.

Searchers throughout the night observed several items of debris near to an oil slick located in the area yesterday. This debris appears to be from the missing vessel.

One survivor was located in the water in the locality last evening around 6pm. He has been in Southland Hospital overnight and Police hope to be able to speak with him today.

Police iwi liaison officers and a Victim Support team have been supporting the wider families of those who were on the fishing vessel.

Seven people remain unaccounted for. While the situation appears bleak, the full-scale search will continue today.


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