A body has been recovered near the wreckage of Greymouth fishing boat, the Wendy J.

The Police National Dive Squad were called in to search for two missing men, after their boat got into trouble on Thursday near Smoothwater Bay.

The skipper, Mark Thomas, survived the sinking after he was swept into the sea and recovered near the mouth of Teer Creek.

Two crewmen, Jay Cairney, 43, and Kieran Lynch, 22, both of Greymouth, disappeared.


The men's families released statements about the two men this afternoon.

Lynch's family thanked police and search and rescue volunteers, saying they were still hopeful for "the safe return of our loved and treasured Kieran".

"We would also like to pass our heartfelt condolences and thoughts to the Cairney family at this sad time."

Cairney's family said the loving uncle "loved life in all its capacity" and was "generous to a fault".

"He looked up to and loved his big brother Shaun and sister Jodi Cairney and loved all his family to the end of the world and back.

"He was also the life of the party, and a great uncle who would just love to spend time with all his nieces and nephews."

Cairney was a very experienced fisherman who loved the sea, his family said.

"He's now with Mum and Dad [Linda and Tika] and looking down on us all with his cheeky grin saying 'right guys and girls party for me' so we will.

"Jay is so going to be missed by all who knew him, but everyone who knew him would know exactly what he would want us to do."

The squad located the body yesterday afternoon.

Formal identification is yet to take place.

Sergeant Mathew Tailby of Greymouth police in a statement to the Greymouth Star today said the body recovered had not been formally identified, and police were still in discussion with the families of the missing men around that.

"A search of other areas of interest around the bay has failed to locate the second missing man," Tailby said.

The paper said skipper March Thomas was rescued from rocks in the Cascade area, about 8km south of where the boat apparently sank at Smoothwater Bay six days ago.

Further searches of the shoreline and tracks by volunteers on the ground yesterday revealed no further sign of the remaining missing crew member.

Tailby told the paper the search until today had focused on the shoreline, using drift projections produced by the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in conjunction with local knowledge of the area.

These areas were expanded to include the remote country nearby and specific seabed areas, he said.

"Sadly, police have reached the point where the search has exhausted these areas without any sign of the missing man."

However, the dive squad would attempt to complete their search today depending on the weather.

Senior sergeant Paul Watson said the police search team was this morning assessing the viability of undertaking further diving, but with a weather change expected for the worse there might be only a narrow chance today.

"There may be a brief opportunity this morning to get the dive squad in there, but it is supposed to change again," Watson said.