Missing man: Two charged over stolen boat

A surf lifesaving IRB is used in the search. Photo / Alan Gibson
A surf lifesaving IRB is used in the search. Photo / Alan Gibson

Two men have been charged with the theft of a boat last night which later capsized in Tauranga Harbour, leaving one person missing.

Tauranga man Shaun Hogarth, 23, was among four men who went overboard when the aluminium dinghy capsized about 8pm.

Three men made it ashore but Mr Hogarth has not been found.

Police said the men took the dinghy to go fishing and appeared to have used their own outboard motor.

This evening, police charged two men with the theft of the boat.

The men, aged 22 and 25, will appear in Tauranga District Court on Friday.

Police were still trying to find the other man who was in the boat at the time of the capsize, Liam Kane, 22.

He has not been seen since raising the alarm with a member of the public last night.

Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said Mr Kane appeared to be in good health but police wanted to talk to him about what had happened.

"It could be that he has information about events that would assist those coordinating the search and help bring some answers to Shaun's family, who are understandably very distressed.''

Police said none of the men were experienced on the water and the weather conditions were poor.

The aluminium dinghy was discovered at Matakana Island this morning by members of the Mt Maunganui Surf Club, as they searched the waterways in an inflatable rescue boat.

The dinghy was upside-down near the base of cliffs between Matakana Point and Tahunamanu Point, directly north of Omokoroa Point, where the men set off from last night.

It appeared to have been pushed towards Matakana Island by the wind and current.

Police planned to examine the boat today.

Mr Hogarth's family released a short statement this afternoon.

"We're all together as a family and are hoping and praying that he's safe somewhere and will be found soon.''

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 28 Dec 2014 23:57:33 Processing Time: 500ms