Missing soldier named
The soldier missing after falling in to a lake near Waiouru has been named.
He is Linton-based soldier Private Michael Victor Ross, 29, from Kaitaia.
The search for Private Ross, presumed drowned following a training exercise near Waiouru, has entered in to a recovery phase, say police.
Ruapehu Area Commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich said that the Royal New Zealand Navy operational dive team and the Police National Dive Squad would enter the water.
"Water conditions are calm this morning and it is hoped this will assist the search which has now moved into a recovery phase."
On Tuesday Private Ross fell off an inflatable dinghy during the exercise on Lake Moawhango and had been wearing a flotation device, police said.
About 100 police search and rescue, and army personnel are continuing the search today.
Inspector Mastrovich said the divers and support boats were briefed with ground personnel at 7am to plan the focus of today's search.
"Sadly there is still no sign of the missing man and we are all doing everything we can to find him," he said.
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 man alive, Mr Coleman said "it doesn't seem very optimistic at all."
Mr 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.
Waiouru Army Base Chief of Staff Dave Harvey said the army was in the process of working with support from police to coordinate the search.
Commander Headquarters Training and Doctrine Colonel Evan Williams said on Wednesday the NZ Army was doing everything it could to support police.
"This is a NZ Police operation and the NZ Army is providing all the assistance required to locate the missing soldier," Colonel Williams said.
Inspector Mastrovich said the missing soldier's next of kin had been informed.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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