The search for three people missing off New Plymouth will resume again at first light today.
Incident Controller Inspector Frank Grant says extensive shoreline, aerial and marine searches had been underway since around 7am on Thursday.
“The Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois is currently doing a shoreline sweep, following high tide earlier this afternoon."
He says Thursday’s search included five Taranaki Surf Lifesaving inflatable rescue boats (IRBs) and rescue vessels from South Taranaki Coastguard and TSB Cape Rescue.
The Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter and Shell Todd have completed aerial searches and Land SAR volunteers and Police personnel have completed shoreline searches.
“The Police National Dive Squad has been in New Plymouth and has made an assessment of the sea conditions, however they are unable to enter the water at this stage, given the rough conditions.”
Inspector Grant says given it is now more than 24 hours since Bryce Jordain, Stephen Kahukaka-Gedyes and Felipe Melo entered the water, it is unlikely they will now be found alive.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the missing as they come to terms with what has occurred. Support is also being provided to staff and students of Spotswood College and TOPEC.
“Police are also making enquiries into the circumstances which led to Wednesday’s tragic incident. The Police investigation is being conducted alongside a Department of Labour investigation.”
A further day of searching on land, sea and by air will resume at first light today.
Source: New Zealand Police.