Two bodies found in search for missing Kiwi off Tasmania

File photo of coastal Tasmania. Photo / iStock
File photo of coastal Tasmania. Photo / iStock

Two bodies have been found in the search for four missing fishermen - one a Kiwi - in the waters off Hobart.

Tasmania police posted on Facebook early this evening the bodies were found near Sloping Main about midday (2pm NZT).

Police have not revealed the identities of those found, or the remaining two missing men, but Inspector Lee Renshaw said on Facebook the three men from Hobart are aged 26, 32 and 33 and the man from New Zealand is 35.

They were reported missing by a family member about 6.45pm last night (8.45pm NZT).

The men, all friends, had launched their 4.8 metre fibreglass boat from a suburban beach before they vanished.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority plane Dornier, and the police vessels Dauntless and Van Diemen were continuing their extensive search of Frederick Henry Bay and Storm Bay down to Cape Raoul for remaining missing men, Renshaw said.

Foot searches also took place around beaches and cliffs in the area.

A report will be prepared for the coroner regarding the men whose bodies had been found.

Tasmania police had earlier said chances of finding the men alive were slim if their boat, powered by a two-stroke 150 horsepower motor, had capsized.

Water temperatures were between 10C and 14C, Renshaw said.

"Survivability in water that temperature is not good ... if they're in the water their survival chances are diminishing as we speak," he said before the two bodies were found.

Searchers on water and in the air have been looking for the men, who were believed to be carrying four lifejackets but not an emergency locator beacon.

There was a 10 to 15 knot wind when the men launched their boat and search and rescue experts were studying drift maps to help find the men.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said earlier today the New Zealand Police Liaison Officer at the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra was in contact with Australian authorities and New Zealand police were in contact with family of the missing Kiwi.

- NZ Herald

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