Body found in Wellington Harbour

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 17:16 09/06/2014
Body found off Wellington
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
GRIM TASK: Maritime police bring a body onshore after recovering it from Wellington Harbour this afternoon.

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Police suspect a man whose body was found at the entrance to Wellington Harbour may have been on an Interislander Cook Strait ferry last night.

A man's body was spotted by boaties at the entrance to Wellington's harbour earlier today.

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson said police seeking to identify the man's body plan to speak to the ferry company tonight to determine the circumstances around the death.

The body is estimated to have been in the water since around the time an Interislander ferry was making a Cook Strait crossing last night, Ferguson said.

Police were exploring the possibility he had been on an 8pm sailing from Wellington to Picton.

The body was now in Wellington Hospital's mortuary and police hoped to be able to identify the man and inform next of kin this evening, he added.

"We're at the very early stage of the investigation and we are treating it with an open mind," he said.

"At this stage police suspect that the man may have been travelling on the Interislander ferry last night."

The body was spotted by boaties off the southernmost part of the harbour entrance, closest to the Pencarrow part of the coastline, and police were called at noon today, a central district police spokesman said.

Police were trying to determine the man's identity and the death would be referred to the coroner, officer in charge of the Maritime Police, Senior Sergeant David Houston, said earlier today.

Asked if any staff or passengers were reported missing from last night's 8pm sailing, a representative for Kiwirail, which runs the Interislander fleet, declined to comment.

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