The parents of a man washed out to sea while whitebaiting on Sunday are urging people to wear lifejackets, even if they are on shore.
Searches have so far failed to find 21-year-old Victor Edward Boraman after he was knocked over by a large wave and pulled out to sea at the mouth of the Rakaia River, south of Ashburton, on Sunday night.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Christchurch was about to rescue him when he was hit by another wave and sucked under the water.
His parents, Dixie and Ted Boraman, of Papakaio, brought Victor to New Zealand from Russia as an orphan when he was 6. Yesterday, Mrs Boraman said the family did not expect him to be found alive but still hoped to get him back from the sea.
He was new to whitebaiting and had been out only a couple of times.
Mrs Boraman said he was "out there looking" with his net on Sunday and was on the shore with two friends.
"His dog took off and got into the lagoon so his mates went and grabbed the dog. When they turned around a wave had come in behind Victor and knocked him off his feet."
He was out in the sea for about 45 minutes and had "done everything right", including taking his waders off so he could float.
The Westpac helicopter arrived and was directed by spotters on shore to where Mr Boraman was.
Mrs Boraman said the helicopter "very nearly had him out", but then the wave hit him and he disappeared. Otago Daily Times