Missing soldier fell in lake

By APN News & Media - with APNZ

A New Zealand soldier missing in the Waiouru Training Area fell into a lake during a training exercise yesterday.

Ruapehu Area Commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich said emergency services were called to Lake Moawhango about 5.40pm last night, after the soldier aged in his late 20s, fell overboard from an inflatable boat while returning from a training exercise.

"A search got underway last night, involving [New Zealand Defence Force] personnel, police and the Square Trust Rescue Helicopter, however, the missing soldier was not located," Mr Mastrovich said.

The search was suspended at 8.30pm and has resumed this morning, with NZDF personnel searching the water and shoreline.

Mr Mastrovich said the Police National Dive Squad arrived in Waiouru last night and will begin searching the lake this morning.

The Royal New Zealand Navy diver support is also on standby.

Commander headquarters training and doctrine, Colonel Evan Williams, said the NZ Army is doing everything it can to support the police.

"This is a NZ Police operation and the NZ Army is providing all the assistance required to locate the missing soldier," Colonel Williams said.

The NZ Defence Force said it has informed the next of kin and will provide appropriate support.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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