Friday, November 24, 2017
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Searching in trying conditions

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Lifeguards, Police and Land Search and Rescue teams are continuing shoreline and water searches around the Mount for a missing five-year-old boy, and are looking for sea conditions to ease this afternoon.

A police dive squad searching the rocks near Shelley Beach where the boy was sucked into the sea 24 hours ago, have stopped because of conditions, saysMount Maunganui Lifeguard Service head guard, Kent Jarman.

Click the image above to watch the video
Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service members scouring the water for the missing five-year-old boy. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

“At the moment it’s more about what they can actually achieve at this stage,” says Kent.

“We’ve just got to let the sea state settle down a bit. And the visibility is absolute rubbish at the moment. They can’t see their hand in front of their face, hardly.”

The lifeguard service is continuing the water search using IRBs.

Interview with Eastern Region lifesaving and education manager Leigh Sefton. Footage and interview by Tracy Hardy.

“We put in a good search this morning from North Rock all way round to North West Rock.

“Our guys are putting their arses on the line doing the area between the beach and North Rock at the moment. There’s about a metre and a half of swell running in there.

“We are not even using junior guards. We’re using pretty much all of our experienced people because what they are trying to do at the moment is tricky.

“We are not doing anything we would consider is too dangerous, but we are in an area where it’s quite - awkward would be a good description.”

The seas have dropped from yesterday’s 3.5m waves, and the westerly wind has come up which searchers are hoping will further flatten out the sea, and more importantly give better visibility for the divers, says Kent.

“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack at the moment.

“We are doing our best and we have got a heap of people here. We are blown away by the support from the community. There’s a whole lot of food got brought in here this morning.

“It makes you appreciate living in a pretty good community. We’ve had a lot of offers of support too, so it’s been good.

“It’s just a matter of ticking off the boxes and going back over where we’ve been before again, to make sure we don’t miss anything.”

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