Body recovered from Waikato River

Paul Arber went missing in Hamilton last weekend. Photo / supplied
Paul Arber went missing in Hamilton last weekend. Photo / supplied

A body recovered from the Waikato River today was found by a group of teenage rowers from Hamilton Girls High School, police say.

The discovery came after searchers yesterday scoured the river in the search for missing Australian tennis coach Paul Arber.

Detective Inspector Karl Thornton said police were working to formally identify the man's body and were offering support to the group of rowers.

Police received two calls from members of the public shortly before 7am in relation to sightings of the body in north Hamilton.

Mr Thornton said one of those calls was from a person involved in a Hamilton Girls High School rowing team, which encountered the body in the river while they were training.

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"This person assisted in not only ensuring police were aware of the situation but also worked to ensure the girls on board the rowing boat were managed as well as possible, given the nature of what had occurred..."

Police were working with the team to ensure they received victim support services. They were also working closely with school management to ensure the necessary steps to support the girls was taken.

Mr Thornton said the body was recovered from the river in suburban Queenwood by 7.40am with help from the Hamilton police rescue launch and members of the Waikato search and rescue squad.

"The person was brought back to Waikato Hospital where investigators have been able to establish the person was male. It will, however, be some time before the formal identification process will be completed that will confirm for us the person's identity."

While it was natural to speculate that it could be Mr Arber's body, it was expected to be some time before a formal identification was completed.

"We have, however, not received any other reports of missing persons we believe could be linked to this morning's recovery."

Mr Arber's family hade been informed of today's development.

Mr Thornton said they were understandably very upset, but they acknowledged the help and support of the people of Hamilton. They also thanked media for publicising the case and police for their support.

"They have asked that their privacy at this time be respected."

Mr Thornton said other aspects of the inquiry into Mr Arber's disappearance were continuing, including the processing of sighting reports from the public.

- APNZ

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