Search for boatie turns to recovery

Last updated 14:41 06/01/2014
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

Searchers aboard the police launch the Lady Elizabeth IV comb Wellington Harbour for a man who fell from a boat.

Police boat
ROB KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
HARBOUR SEARCH: The police boat Lady Elizabeth II searches Wellington's eastern coastline for a missing boatie.

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Police are now looking for a body in Wellington harbour, after a man went overboard without a life jacket.

Police called off today's search this afternoon, after finding no trace of the 49-year-old Wellington man in the muddy waters near the mouth of the Hutt River.

Senior Constable Craig Pickering, of the Wellington Maritime Unit, said the search would resume tomorrow but they would be looking for a body.

The man was reported overboard about 5pm yesterday off Port Rd near Seaview, near the mouth of the Hutt River at the north end of the harbour.

The pair were on their way to check a fishing net when they were thrown overboard. The other man managed to swim to shore and has since spoken to police.

He had confirmed to police that his companion was not wearing a life jacket, Mr Pickering said.

"Events like this continue to underscore the importance of always wearing a life jacket when you are on the water," he said.

"River conditions can change rapidly after heavy rain and people can get into strife surprisingly quickly".

Poor water visibility from the river outflow hampered the search today and prevented the Police National Dive Squad from being used.

Police were not planning to release the missing man's name today, as attempted were still being made to contact his family.

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