SEARCH AND RESCUE

Search off Wairarapa coast for 72-year-old fisherman

Friday 11 January 2013, 2:52PM
By Maritime New Zealand
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WAIRARAPA

A search is underway for a 72-year-old Martinborough man missing off the south Wairarapa coast near Te Awaiti.

The man is understood to have left from Sandy Bay at 11am yesterday in a 2-3m inflatable boat to set a crayfish pot. His motor vehicle and trailer were reported to police around 8.30pm last night.

The man’s dog, which he took with him on boat, was found with the vehicles this morning.

Strong winds yesterday prevented searching by the Westpac helicopter but an RNZAF P3 Orion began searching the area at 6am today. A helicopter from Masterton has completed an initial shoreline search.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has now tasked a winch-capable Helipro helicopter to conduct a further shoreline search and cover the area inshore area, with two search and rescue teams also heading to the area to search the coastline.  Two fishing boats are also involved in the search.

RCCNZ mission coordinator Keith Allen said man was known to be wearing a wetsuit and lifejacket.

“We are searching the inshore area to check he is not clinging to crayfish pots, and the Orion is also looking checking an area up to 90km (50 nautical miles) offshore,” he said.