A police search that involved an airplane and two Coastguard boats found two men missing overnight safe and well February 11.
The 4.8 metre aluminium pontoon boat left Mill Bay, Mangonui about 2pm on that day. They were due back at 9pm. When they didn't return, the family alerted police, who then launched a search. On board were 72-year-old Michael Ward and his son 23-year-old John Ward.
The Whangaroa Coastguard boat left Whangaroa Harbour about midnight and began a coastline search from the harbour to Berghan Pt and into Doubtless Bay. They could not find any sign of the boat. At first light a fixed-wing aircraft from the Kerikeri Coastguard Air Patrol flew out.
It covered the coastline as far as Moturoa Island off Cape Karikari and down to the Cavalli Islands.
Vessels from the Whangaroa Coastguard and Bay Rescue (Bay of Islands Coastguard) began searching again in an area from the Nine Pin to Cape Karikari.
Numerous radio broadcasts were sent to local boaties, including those taking part in the Whangaroa One Base Fishing Tournament.
At about 1.30pm, February 11 the Whangaroa Coastguard vessel located the two men in their boat drifting 1.6 nautical miles offshore, northeast of the Tekura Rocks. The boat had no form of communication, and no flare kit and police were unsure if the men had lifejackets on board.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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