Search for boy's body may be called off

Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013
DANIEL GALVIN/Fairfax NZ

A 11-year-old boy is missing at sea after the boat he was in capsized and he drifted away from his family.

Capsized boat
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
CAPSIZED: The boat which capsized leaving four people adrift in the Hauraki Gulf.

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Police will decide today whether or not to call off the search for the body of an 11-year-old Papakura boy missing in the Hauraki Gulf since last Friday.

A Royal New Zealand Navy team and police were still scouring the seabed yesterday looking for Don Sang-Yum who disappeared after the boat he and three family members were in capsized.

The boy, his father and two cousins set off from Kawakawa Bay about 11am on Thursday but the 12-foot runabout capsized within an hour of launching.

The four were reported missing just before midnight.

A yacht came across the upturned hull of the runabout near Ponui Island 20 hours later - about 8am on Friday.

Police said the men had huddled together in the dark clinging to the boat.
 
Sang-Yum had drifted away from his family about 2am.

Two of the men were found clinging to the overturned boat and one was floating nearby.

The yachtie rescued one of the survivors and the Westpac rescue helicopter winched the second aboard.

A crew member from the police Eagle helicopter jumped into the sea with a flotation device to rescue the third man.
 
Both were then picked up by the police launch Deodar.

All three men were taken to hospital for treatment and released.

The navy later provided the Remis, a torpedo-type device, to scan and photograph the seabed in 3D format in the hope of locating Sang-Yum.

Coastguard operations manager Ray Burge said there were probably too many people on the boat given its size.
 
He said the men should have checked the weather and taken better safety precautions.

None of the survivors were wearing lifejackets when they were found.

There were two lifejackets on board when the runabout was towed ashore.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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