Search continues for missing Titahi Bay swimmer

Police remain hopeful a 24-year-old Porirua man missing in Titahi Bay will be found this morning, as rescuers resume their search.

Police central communications spokesman Ian Harris said Mana Coastguard, Titahi Bay Surf Lifesaving Club and a number of volunteers resumed combing the area for signs of the man at 8am this morning.

"People have survived a long time in these waters before so we're holding out hope," Harris said.

But as time goes on, hopes of finding the man alive are waning, he said.

"We're really hoping we find him soon."

The man went missing at 4pm yesterday afternoon, after he and a group of four friends were caught in a rip while swimming in Titahi Bay, near Wellington.

All four others were rescued, and two were taken to hospital for treatment.

There were two other serious incidents on the water yesterday, leaving two men dead and another in hospital in a serious condition.

A male swimmer in his 50s died after suffering a heart attack while competing in the 2.5km Taupo Epic open water swim.

In Tauranga a 51-year-old Aucklander drowned and a 49-year-old Tauranga man was taken to hospital after the men got into difficulty while fishing in Welcome Bay.

The 49-year-old is in Tauranga hospital. His condition was described as serious.

Drowning rates in New Zealand are more than double that of Australia.

Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive Matt Claridge said Maori are disproportionally represented in these drowning statistics.

Older Maori males make up a high proportion of these drownings, which often occur while diving for seafood or kaimoana, he said.

Adolescent Maori males also have a high drowning rate, which he said could be attributed to "recklessness and poor decision making."

- APNZ

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