Search for DOC man on Raoul Island called off

RESCUE CREW: Pilot Mark Funnell and Police SAR Sergeant Mark Bond from Taupo leave Ardmore for Raoul Island.
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax Media
RESCUE CREW: Pilot Mark Funnell and Police SAR Sergeant Mark Bond from Taupo leave Ardmore for Raoul Island.

The missing Department of Conservation volunteer who is presumed drowned off Raoul Island has been named as 33-year old Romanian Mihai Muncus-Nagy.

DOC Warkworth Area Manager Tim Brandenburg said that despite extensive efforts by DOC staff, working in consultation with the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, Muncus-Nagy has not been found.

The RCCNZ was contacted on Monday to coordinate the search for Muncus-Nagy, who is thought to have been swept into the sea while carrying out routine monitoring.

Muncus-Nagy joined the team on the island at the end of October, fulfilling one of his dreams to go to Raoul. His mountaineering experience and ability to work in small teams in the outdoors made him a good fit for the work involved, Brandenburg said.

He said support was being given to Muncus-Nagy's family back in Romania who have accepted that he is unlikely to have survived. Plans are being considered to bring Muncus-Nagy's wife to New Zealand and enable her to visit Raoul, should she wish to do so.

Fellow DOC staff have also found the loss hard to accept, he said.

DOC and the Department of Labour would be carrying out a full investigation into the incident to piece together what may have happened in the incident.

The search for him had been suspended earlier today. A helicopter that yesterday flew to the island, about 1000km north east of New Zealand, has been searching throughout the day. A DOC boat was also launched.

"Sadly, despite an exhaustive search involving long range fixed wing and helicopter aircraft and teams of people on the ground combing the island, the coastline and neighbouring waters over the last two days, there has been no sign of the missing man," RCCNZ Search Mission Coordinator Greg Johnston said.

LOST: Department of Conservation volunteer Mihai Muncus-Nagy.
DOC/SUPPLIED
LOST: Department of Conservation volunteer Mihai Muncus-Nagy.

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