Sunday, April 14, 2024

Missing family found safe

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Volunteers from Coastguards Howick and Maraetai aided in the search for the missing family. Photo Coastguard New Zealand

A wide search was carried out on Sunday to find a family that failed to return from a fishing trip in Kawakawa Bay.

On November 13, Counties Manukau Police were notified at 9:35 pm that a family of five, one adult and four children aged 7-11, had not returned as expected.

At 9:56 pm, Coastguard New Zealand (CNZ) Operations Centre were alerted by the police to an overdue vessel. The boat, according to CNZ, had left Kawakawa Bay before sunrise that morning with another vessel for the Waikawau Mussel Farm.

One vessel arrived at the mussel farm but the other with the family onboard was reported missing after failing to arrive.

Coastguard Volunteers from Howick Coastguard and Coastguard Maraetai assisted the police in the search throughout the night. The missing vessel was not found until the police reported at 7:06 am on November 14 that they’d been located safe and well.

Members of the public had sighted a boat matching the description heading towards Matingarahi Point. The boat was escorted to Kawakawa Bay by the Coastguard.

Coastguard duty officer John Cowan said the vessel wasn’t in any difficulty as they’d fuelled up overnight at Thames and “camped overnight before heading out fishing today (Sunday).”

“The vessel did not have a VHF Radio and the mobile on board had run out of battery,” Cowan said.

“It’s a welcome relief to worried family members at home and just a great outcome for all involved.

“Credit to the volunteers that jumped out of bed last night (Saturday) to head out and search and again for the team effort out on the water on Sunday morning in tough visibility given the weather conditions.”

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