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Search for three missing continues off New Plymouth

Search for three missing continues off New Plymouth

Police confirm an extensive search is underway for three people still missing following a rock climbing exercise at Paritutu Rock, near New Plymouth's Back Beach.

Police were alerted to the incident about 1.20pm today, after some members of the 13-strong group fell into the water during the exercise.

Acting Area Commander, Inspector Frank Grant said the group comprised two instructors and 11 students, including international students.

One student was rescued and it is understood that an instructor dived into the water to rescue the two others. However, both the instructor and the two remaining students still remain unaccounted for.

“Currently the sea conditions are extremely rough with a large swell running, which is hampering the search and rescue operation,” Mr Grant said.

An inflatable rescue boat, port pilot boat and commercial fishing boat are continuing to search for the missing.

The Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter was used to winch the remaining people off the rocks and a light plane is being used to help in the search. Shoreline searches are also being carried out.

“We’ll continue the search for as long as we can.”

The 9 remaining students and one instructor are all reported safe and well.

ENDS

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