Update man missing off Whangamata coast

Update man missing off Whangamata coast

National News

Police searching for a man missing in the ocean off the coast of Whangamata have completed a surface search and divers are now searching underwater.

Maurice Bede PHILIPS, 24, of Ngaruawahia is missing presumed drowned after the kayak he was fishing from with a friend took on water and sank off Hauturu (Clark) Island shortly after 5pm yesterday.

Earlier reports of Mr PHILIPS coming from Whangamata are incorrect.

Mr PHILIPS' companion was able to swim to the island and raised the alarm and a surface search was launched last evening.

The surface search recommenced this morning without finding him..

Sergeant Vince Ranger of the Whangamata Police said the focus of the search was now on the activities of the Police Dive Squad searching below the surface in the area Mr PHILIPS is believed to have gone missing in.

"We're satisfied that Mr PHILIPS wasn't on the surface when the search took place last night and earlier today and we're now working to recover his body to allow closure for his family," he said.

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Note to media; queries should be directed to the Whangamata Police Station.