Soldier missing near Waiouru named

Last updated 10:48 27/09/2012
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Private Michael Victor Ross

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The soldier missing, presumed drowned, following a training exercise near Waiouru has been named.

He is Private Michael Victor Ross, aged 29, from Kaitaia.

Ross is a Rifleman with 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment based at Linton, the Defence Force and police said.

The soldier fell off an inflatable dinghy during the exercise on Lake Moawhango. He had been wearing a flotation device, police said.

The search for Ross resumed this morning, however hopes of finding him alive had faded.

"Sadly there is little chance of finding him alive given the length of time he has been missing and our focus now is the recovery operation," said police Ruapehu area commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich.

The navy operational dive team and police dive squad would be involved, he said.

"Water conditions are calm this morning and it is hoped this will assist the search."

About 100 police search and rescue and army personnel had taken part in the search.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said yesterday the search for the missing soldier was a "very tragic situation" and every effort was being made to recover his body.

Asked about the chances of finding the Ross alive, Coleman said "it doesn't seem very optimistic at all."

Mastrovich said police were speaking with "several dozen" witnesses to the incident.

The lake is about 10km north of Waiouru on the eastern side of the Desert Road.


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- The Dominion Post

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