A body found in Bay of Plenty has been confirmed as that of a fisherman who disappeared after a stingray pulled his fishing rod into the sea.

The Navy was conducting a sonar search of the the Kauri Point area this morning when Peato Samele Ilalio's body floated to the surface, police say.

Mr Ilalio, 40, went missing while fishing with his wife from the jetty about 2pm on Thursday.

He jumped into the sea to retrieve his fishing rod and got into difficulty in the channel because of the outgoing tide, police said.


The three-day search involved the Police Dive Squad and several volunteer groups including the Waihi Beach Coastguard, Waihi Beach Surf Club, the Trustpower TECT Rescue helicopter, Tauranga Harbour Warden and Tauranga Land Search & Rescue.

The matter has now been referred to the Coroner.