Piha search continues

Woman may have fallen down cliff face

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 10:11 24/12/2012
Piha beach search
PETER MEECHAM / Fairfax NZ

SEARCH TEAMS: Piha surf lifesavers prepare to go in search of a woman missing after her car was found at the start of the Mercer Bay loop track at Piha beach.

Piha Beach
POLICE SEARCH: A woman has been missing in the Piha area since Saturday night.

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Police have named the woman missing from Piha since Saturday night as Cherie Louise Vousden, 42, from the North Shore.

Officers fear Vousden may have fallen 270m down a cliff face into the sea while walking along a track in the area.

The news comes as they and surf lifesavers this morning resumed their search for the woman whose car was found unoccupied and unlocked over the weekend.

Inflatable rescue boats and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter will scour the water between North Piha and Karekare throughout the day, search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Dene Duthie said.

The weather was calm for searching, he said.

Her family was also searching along the track.

The woman was last seen at 7.15pm on Saturday on the Mercer Bay loop track. Her car was found later that evening.

An extensive land and air search began but yesterday failed to find any trace of the woman.

According to the Auckland Council website the loop track makes its way "along the top of the highest sea cliffs in the Auckland region and provides great views north towards Muriwai and south to Whatipu".

It says the track has a "number of natural features that may pose increased risk to visitors".

Duthie said there were concerns the woman had fallen down one of the steep cliff faces and into the water.

He said police had spoken to a person who had seen the woman and that person had "confirmed everything" they knew about the last sighting of the woman.

Members of the woman's family were with police throughout the day yesterday.

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