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Outpouring of support as search for boy continues

Outpouring of support as search for boy continues

There has been an overwhelming outpouring of support from the local community since a 5-year-old boy was swept out to sea yesterday in Mount Maunganui.

People have taken to the Bay of Plenty Police Facebook page and are phoning the local station to pass on their good wishes and ask how they can contribute. Several members of the community also took to the beach last night to hold a touching candlelight vigil.

Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said: “It’s at times like these that the true Kiwi spirit really shines though and it makes us incredibly proud of our community. Helping the family by finding this little boy is all the motivation we need, but it certainly helps to know that we have such a supportive community behind us.”

The search has resumed this morning, with police and search and rescue volunteers again being supported by personnel from three Surf Life Saving Clubs (Mount Maunganui, Omanu and Papamoa). The Police National Dive Squad has also joined the search and the Coastguard and TECT helicopter are on standby.

Sea conditions are calmer today and the focus of the search remains in the Shelly Beach area and around the Mount Maunganui Base Track. Searches are also being carried out around Matakana Island.

There have been a number of offers from the public to assist with the search. Police appreciate these offers but the majority of the search is in the water or rocky terrain and for safety reasons this requires trained professionals. Police are satisfied that they have sufficient resources for the current search. Some members of the public have taken to searching along the beach and this causes Police no concerns but the public are asked to put their own safety first, particularly if close to water.

It has been arranged for Mount Maunganui Surf Club to be a collection point for anyone wanting to drop off a written card or message for the family. There have also been numerous offers of food and some has already been delivered to the surf club. This will be provided to the family and to the searchers.

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