Search for missing boatie continues

Only one of the four survivors rescued after their boat was swamped by a rogue wave had been wearing a life jacket.

Rescue personnel have confirmed more life jackets were on board the vessel but they were not being used.

Sergeant Warren Shaw from the Waikato Search and Rescue Unit spoke with media this morning outside the Waihi beach coast guard.

He confirmed that five people were on the boat, including the 52-year-old man who is still missing. The four other people on the boat managed to swim to safety. Three of these people are the missing man's children - aged 7, 15 and 23.

A 14-year-old friend was also on the boat.

Sergeant Shaw said that as the boat was capsized by a wave, only the 7-year-old was wearing a life jacket. There were other life jackets on the boat but they were not in use.

Coastguard representative Brian Grimwood said the conditions at the time were moderate to rough.

When the boat capsized, all members of the party were separated but managed to return to the boat.

It is unclear whether the missing man returned to the boat at this point.

The members of the party were then separated a second time, and the man's three children and the 14-year-old friend managed to swim to Matakana Island.

On Matakana Island the four flagged down passing fisherman Warren Coffey and his friend who were returning from a fishing trip.

Sergeant Shaw said the search was continuing for the missing man and this would be reassessed later today.

``We always hold a glimmer of hope but as the search progresses, we have to be realistic with what we are looking for.''


- Bay of Plenty Times

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