The search is on for an Auckland man who went missing off Uretiti Beach while crabbing.

About 12.30pm yesterday the man, 35, went out in small inflatable dinghy to set some crab pots. Police said there was a very strong wind blowing offshore and the man's dinghy was blown out to sea.
Police believe the dinghy has tipped over and the man has fallen into the sea.

Northland police Search and Rescue co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said Ruakaka Surf Lifesaving Club members were dispatched and searched the area with a jet ski, but were unable to locate the man.

Police were also alerted and a search for the man began using two fixed wing aircraft, the Northland Rescue Electricity Helicopter, Whangarei Coastguard, Ruakaka and Waipu Surf Lifesaving clubs along with Police Search and Rescue staff.

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It is believed the man was with a group who had traveled from Auckland for the day. His family, including two young children, were on the beach.

The search resumed at 8am today and includes a fixed wing aircraft, police Search and Rescue staff, volunteers from the surf lifesaving clubs, and the man's family members.

It comes only weeks after Northland police announced they would be targeting Asian crabbers at the beach and trying to keep them safe over summer following recent drownings.