Shoreline search for missing boatie

By Abby Gillies

Starting today, a two-day shoreline search would begin. Photo / APN
Starting today, a two-day shoreline search would begin. Photo / APN

Searchers will spend the next two days scouring the shoreline near Bowentown after a man went missing when his boat capsized off the Bay of Plenty coast.

Well-known Katikati resident Tim Mair, 52, is believed to have been swept away when a rogue wave swamped the boat he was in at Bowentown Heads.

Mr Mair was fishing with his 15-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter, 7-year-old grandson and a 14-year-old friend when the tragedy occurred.

The four survivors, the youngest of whom was wearing a life jacket, swam to nearby Matakana Island but Mr Mair has not been seen since.

Constable Dave Pitchford said an extensive air, land and sea search of the inner Tauranga Harbour had been conducted on Monday night and yesterday.

Starting today, a two-day shoreline search would begin.

"If we haven't located Tim by then we will then re-evaluate our options," he said.

Mr Mair's son Nick said his family was very appreciative of all the search efforts so far.

Waihi fisherman Warren Coffey and friend Peter Besley, who were heading out of Anzac Bay to go fishing on Monday night, came across the overturned boat then they saw the four survivors waving for help from the island.

"They were cold and a bit shaken. They were pretty quiet," Mr Coffey said.

The sea was moderate to rough when the boat capsized, said Waihi Beach coastguard duty officer Brian Grimwood.

Mr Mair ran honey and kiwifruit businesses in the area, said a neighbour.

He was described by police Sergeant Warren Shaw as a "very experienced boatie".

There were additional lifejackets on the boat, and the situation would have been "very different" if they had all been used, he said.

- Additional reporting Bay of Plenty Times

- APNZ

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