A search operation has begun for a missing 66-year-old man whose boat was found abandoned.

Police say they are concerned for the safety of George Agnew, of Canterbury, who was reported missing this morning by his family after failing to return home last night.

He had been camping in the Haldon Arm Reserve and the last time anyone heard from him was when he contacted his family at lunchtime on Tuesday.

His 25 foot yacht, Solar Heat, was found on Lake Benmore this morning.

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Search and rescue teams and the Coastguard have been out searching today and will continue again tomorrow.

Timaru Police asked anyone who has seen Agnew or his boat to contact them on 03 687 9808.