Missing Whangamata man's body found

Thursday 26 July 2012, 12:28PM
By New Zealand Police


A change in water levels allowed Waikato Police and search and rescue volunteers to locate and recover an elderly man's body at Whangamata yesterday.

District Search and Rescue Coordinator, Constable Dave Pitchford, said the body of 78-year-old Colin Walter HODGES was found in the Wentworth River near Mr HODGES' home shortly after 4pm.

"The river and estuary always factored in our planning and search areas however heavy rains had raised water levels considerably, restricting our ability to search the area as well as we would have liked.

"As water levels receded we returned to the area and a team located Mr HODGES' body. A post-mortem examination will now be carried out and his death has been reported to the Coroner."

Mr Pitchford said with the successful recovery operation completed it was appropriate to highlight the valuable assistance unpaid Land Search and Rescue volunteers provided to Police.

"All too often search operations have to be carried out in the worst of weather in the most rugged terrain in the hours of darkness when people find themselves in trouble.

"And when this happens, without fail, Land SAR volunteers muster to make up the search teams and assist in the operational headquarters making their skills available not only to Police but the whole community."