Boat found in Bowentown search

The Waihi Beach Coastguard boat Avoco is involved in searching for the missing fisherman. Photo: Supplied.

Updated 10.15am: A missing Rotorua fisherman was last seen clinging to an upturned aluminium dinghy as the boat was washed out to sea last night.

The boat was later recovered with no sign of the missing 24-year-old, says Waikato senior sergeant Mike Henwood, on Stuff today.

Three people from Rotorua, the missing 24-year-old, a 28-year-old man and a ten year old boy set out from Bowentown late on Monday afternoon.

The boat hit a wave on the bar about 8pm and overturned.

There was only one life jacket on board, says Mike. It was put on the boy and he, along with the 28 year old, floated to shore just before midnight. They both had mild hypothermia and were taken to hospital.

The third man clung to the dinghy and was washed further out to sea, says Mike.

The Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter searched the Waihi Beach coastline and the Matakana Island coastline using Night Vision Goggles but was unable to locate the man.

Earlier: An upturned boat has been found in the area where police are searching for a fisherman missing after three people were tipped out of a boat on the Bowentown Bar last night.

A 28-year-old man and a 10-year-old boy were found alive on the shore last night by another fisherman, but a 24 year old Rotorua man is still missing.

They went out the entrance fishing in a 14ft Aluminium boat. The police media team has no information about the boat that has been found.

The survivors were treated by ambulance for the effects of hypothermia and taken to hospital.

Police were alerted at 11.20pm and a search began for the missing man.

The Westpac helicopter from Auckland and a helicopter from Tauranga are assisting with the search says a police media spokesperson today.

They are joined by three Coastguard vessels and a Coastguard plane, Surf Life Saving boats, and HMNZS Taupo. The search is focussed on the open ocean, while Surf Life Saving teams are helping with shoreline searches.

The Police Eagle helicopter, which was used in the search overnight, has returned to Auckland.

The water has flattened out this morning after a night of swells.

Conditions outside the Tauranga entrance today are maximum wave height of 1.3m and a wind speed of three knots.


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