A search will resume today for a missing international student who vanished in surf after getting into trouble off the Hawkes Bay coastline.
The 16-year-old was swimming with a friend yesterday afternoon near the mouth of the Ngaruroro River, where the Clive, Tutaekuri and Ngaruroro rivers empty into the sea.
The teen's friend tried in vain to find the missing boy, before getting into trouble himself and having to be saved by other beachgoers.
"Police and LandSAR have again carried out searches of the foreshore and river mouth area at Awatoto, near Clive, in Hawkes Bay this morning in an attempt to locate the missing 16-year-old male that went missing whilst swimming on Saturday afternoon," police said.
"So far he has not been located.
"The Police National Dive Squad will be arriving into the area later this morning to assist with the search around the estuary area."
Acting inspector Brett Simon, of the central police communications centre, said yesterday the teen had been swimming with a companion near the mouth of the Ngaruroro River where the Clive and Tutaekuri Rivers also empty into the sea.
"Searchers will again be back searching the areas along the foreshore later this evening around low tide time," police added.
"A jet ski competition scheduled for the area today has been cancelled due to the search for the missing male."
The police said the two had been swimming and the teen got into difficulty and disappeared from view.
Emergency services were notified at 3.55pm yesterday and a major search operation was launched.
Police, Fire Service, Coastguard and ambulance staff were all at the scene.
A helicopter spent up to an hour flying up and down the beach and surf lifesavers searched the water in inflatable rescue boats.
The Salvation Army had also sent staff to provide assistance if they could.
Hawke's Bay Today photographer Duncan Brown saw two fire engines, a Fire Service incident control truck and 12 -15 civilian vehicles at the beach. Surf lifesavers in inflatable rescue boats were searching the water and a helicopter had spent up to an hour flying over the beach.
Eighty-four people have drowned in New Zealand this year, including 69 men. Water Safety New Zealand statistics reveal 51 were in tidal waters, at the beach or in rivers.
At the same time last year, 80 people had drowned. Water Safety NZ chief executive Matt Claridge said few drownings involved overseas visitors but foreigners who drowned were normally caught out by a lack of local knowledge about the conditions.
He said stretches of the Hawkes Bay coastline were well-known by locals for being potentially dangerous. "If you're near a river [outlet] that can create a whole lot more because of water moving in multiple directions," he said.
"It can be quite troublesome for those who are not experienced in moving water. It's cold water, too."
Claridge added he was disappointed at this year's increased toll. "Males are typically the ones who are drowning in preventable circumstances."
- NZ Herald