Police have suspended the search for 24-year-old Albert Alapati who was caught in a rip at Titahi Bay while swimming with three relatives on Saturday afternoon, 14 January.
Detective Inspector Ross Grantham, acting Kapiti Mana Area Commander, said that extensive water and shoreline searches have sadly been unable to find any sign of the young Porirua man. Police were confident that Mr Alapati is not in the Titahi Bay basin.
“We’re asking recreational boaties and kayakers to bear Albert in mind if they are on the water in the Wellington south coast through to the Otaki area,” Detective Inspector Grantham said. “Please tell us if you see anything might help us return Albert to his grieving family.
“The family are very appreciative of the search efforts and the support they have received from many people, including the Titahi Bay Surf Club who opened up their facility allowing the family to maintain a vigil. The family are remarkable people given the distressing situation they are in and we thank them for their understanding.
Detective Inspector Grantham also thanked everyone involved with the search for their vigilant efforts – local members of the community, Coastguard, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, the Department of Conservation ranger on Mana Island, and police Search and Rescue, Dive Squad and Maritime Unit staff.
He singled out special praise for people who were on the beach on Saturday afternoon and rescued others from the water. “They didn’t hesitate when they saw what was happening saving the lives of three others and tried so desperately hard to to recover Albert.”