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Update 8: Stewart Island SAR Operation

Update 8: Stewart Island SAR Operation

A limited search has continued today for the four people missing from the Easy Rider.

Today approximately 25 LandSAR volunteers searched the southern coastline from Fortrose to Chaslands Mistake. Another SAR team of 12 people searched the coastline beaches from Tiwai Beach through to Waituna Lagoon on foot and by 4WD motorbike. This search is almost completed and no debris or anything else has been found.

A further fifteen LandSAR volunteers undertook a coastline search from Omaui to Ocean Beach on foot. The area from Stirling Point, Bluff, back to Ocean Beach was searched again by small boat because the rocky topography meant that the area was too difficult in places to traverse on foot. Nothing has been found.

The operation management team is assessing the latest tidal drifts and based on the outcome of that assessment, a further search may be made tomorrow of the Ruapuke Island coastline by boat and ground search. This decision will be made tomorrow morning.

The searches today followed an air search of coastline and an estuary area at the southern tip of Oreti Beach by boat yesterday.

The operation continues to be in a limited continuous phase.

This means that the operation management team (made up of Police, SAR staff and local experts) continues to regularly receive and evaluate the latest information supplied from the Rescue Coordination Centre about tidal patterns, current movements and debris already located, to identify potential actions or directions for future searches. The information provided by RCC is complemented by information from local marine search advisors with good, local knowledge.

The contribution of local experts has been invaluable to the search management team to ensure that every conceivable possibility has been looked at. The operation management team has also asked the local fishing community to report any information that they believe could be useful to the operation.

Police had hoped for a better outcome at this stage, and our thoughts and sympathies remain with all families involved.

ENDS

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