Police divers today joined the search for two Greymouth fishermen missing at sea since their boat the Wendy J broke up in rough weather south of Jackson Bay five days ago.

No further clues have yet emerged of the whereabouts of crew members Jay Cairney and Kieran Lynch. Skipper Mark Thomas was found safe on rocks a few hours after the alarm was raised on Saturday, in the Cascade area and about 8km south of where the boat apparently sank.

Thomas told his boss at Westfleet that he was swept off the deck when he and the others were scrambling for lifejackets, and he survived by reaching out for a life ring while in the water.

Senior Sergeant Paul Watson, of Greymouth police, said this morning little progress was made yesterday to advance the land search of the coastline.


The Police National Dive Squad was today focusing on Smoothwater Bay and Homminy Cove, around the corner from Jackson Bay, where flotsam and jetsam from the Wendy J had been found.

"They've found some fishing nets and stuff in the area which is where the boat possibly struck the rocks or sank," Watson said.

The squad would be looking for any clues on the whereabouts of Cairney and Lynch, and what debris of the ill-fated fishing boat lay below the surface.

No further search of the precipitous shoreline was being mounted today.

Watson said he understood some search and rescue teams were still in the area with the possibility they might search some tracks in from the shoreline in the area.

Detective constable Jayne Bretherton said the dive squad was being deployed to "areas of interest".

"Two fishing nets have been found on the shoreline in that area, which police believe are likely to have come from the boat," she said.

Police also hoped the dive squad would get to the spot where the vessel went down.

"The boat is believed to have lost power, so an assessment will be made to determine how that may have happened," Bretherton said.

- Greymouth Star