Coastguard volunteers search overnight for missing woman
Northland Coastguard volunteers searched overnight last night for a woman missing off Matauri Bay, near the Cavalli Passage, Northland.
At 18:57 last night (11 June), Coastguard Operations received a call reporting that a woman had departed Putataua Bay around midday aboard a small dinghy, and had not returned. Following enquiries, Northland Police and the Police Maritime Unit were informed and Coastguard volunteers aboard Whangaroa Rescue were tasked to begin an urgent search.
Whangaroa Rescue departed Whangaroa at 19:46, arriving on scene at 20:37 and were tasked to do a shoreline search from the western end of Putataua Bay around the headland towards Matauri Bay. Land-based informants were interviewed by Police to gather more information. The woman reportedly had not been wearing a lifejacket.
Coastguard volunteers aboard Bay Rescue II were paged to head to the area. Meanwhile Whangaroa Rescue was tasked to conduct a shoreline search of Piraunui Island and of Putataua Bay and Waiheke Bay.
At 22:32 Bay Rescue II located a dinghy containing articles of clothing and fishing gear. Bay Rescue II took the dinghy aboard their vessel and deployed a floating marker, logging the location.
Both Coastguard rescue vessels continued to conduct shoreline searches. At 23:07 Helimed II departed Whangarei for the area, arriving in the search area at 23:37. All three assets conducted a line search of the area as far south east as Motuiwi Island, north east to Motukawaiti and north west to the Matauri Bay headland. At 00:33, Bay Rescue II retrieved a jacket from the water.
Helimed 2 concluded their search with a final and thorough sweep of the coast from Motuiwi Island north to the Matauri Creek, departing the area at 00:35. Shortly afterwards Whangaroa Rescue and Bay Rescue II concluded with the final leg of their search. All recovered items were passed to Whangaroa Rescue to return to Police, waiting on shore at Whangaroa.
Both rescue vessels were then asked to stand down and return to base, with Whangaroa Rescue arriving back at their base at 02:05 and Bay Rescue II at 02:54. In total, over a dozen Coastguard volunteers have been directly involved in the search.
This morning, Coastguard Air Patrol was again airborne from 09:10 to 11:40 conducting an extensive search of the area. The Police vessel Deodar III remains on scene, with LandSAR volunteers on standby to assist.