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Search For Missing Near New Plymouth

Title: Search For Three Missing Near New Plymouth To Resume At First Light Tomorrow Morning

A search will resume at first light tomorrow morning for three people, missing following a rock climbing exercise at Paritutu Rock, near Back Beach today.

Incident Controller Inspector Frank Grant says 11 Year 13 students from Spotswood College were with two instructors from TOPEC on a rockclimbing exercise at Paritutu Rock around 1:20pm, when three students fell into the water.

"One of the instructors entered the water to assist the students. One of the students managed to cling onto a rock and was winched to safety by the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter, but the remaining two students and the instructor have not resurfaced."

Inspector Grant says the two students are both males, aged 17 years. One is from the New Plymouth area and the other is of Brazilian descent. The instructor is a male, aged in his early 40's, also from the New Plymouth area.

"An extensive and thorough sea, aerial and land search has been conducted over the past several hours. High tide occurred at 8pm this evening and searchers have been stood down for the night. We will resume again at first light."

Inspector Grant says, "Police remain optimistic but given the rough sea conditions, the weather and the length of time the trio have been in the water, hopes of finding them alive are fading."

Police expect to release the names of the three missing tomorrow. Police are providing support to the families of the missing, during this difficult time.


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