Fourth body recovered in search operation

An Enchanter Fishing Charters’ vessel is at the centre of a rescue operation near North Cape. Photo: Supplied.

UPDATE 3.15PM: A fourth body has been located in the water during a search and rescue operation off North Cape.

"The body has been retrieved this afternoon by a vessel supporting the search operation," says a Police spokesperson. Search efforts, led by the Rescue Coordination Centre at Maritime NZ, are ongoing to locate a fifth person who remains unaccounted for. "Police and Victim Support are contacting the families of those involved in this incident to support them during this incredibly difficult time."

UPDATE 10.52AM: Three bodies have been found in a search and rescue operation off the North Cape this morning.

Northland Police continue to assist with a search and rescue operation after five people were reported to be unaccounted for in the waters off North Cape late yesterday.

"Sadly, two bodies have been located in the water and were recovered by helicopter this morning," says a Police spokepserson.

"A third body has been recovered by a vessel assisting with the water search.

"Air, land and water searches are ongoing in efforts to locate the two people who remain missing."

This operation is being led by the Rescue Coordination Centre at Maritime NZ.

"Five people were previously rescued and are currently in Kaitaia Hospital in a stable condition."

EARLIER:

A search and rescue operation is underway after reports of a vessel in distress overnight.

Police says they are involved in a rescue operation off North Cape following a report of a vessel in distress late yesterday evening.

"The operation is being led by the Rescue Coordination Centre," says a Police spokesperson.

"Police Search and Rescue are assisting with a land search based at Te Pua, in the Far North."

RNZ is reporting that five people have been rescued after a vessel activated its beacon.

However, police say a number of people are still "currently unaccounted for".

Maritime New Zealand, which is leading the operation, says helicopters are assisting search vessels and police are searching onshore.

Weather conditions and poor visibility are making the search challenging.

MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the areas of Kaipara, Far North, Whangārei and Rodent.

A severe thunderstorm watch is already in force for Northland, Auckland, Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula.

Photo: NZ Topo Map.

-Additional reporting by RNZ.




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