The search for a missing soldier, feared drowned in a lake, will resume in the morning.
Ruapehu Area Commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich said hopes of finding the man alive were fading, given 24 hours had passed since he went missing.
"Sadly, despite intensive searches conducted throughout the course of the day, we have not located this soldier.
"Our search will resume again at first light, where Royal New Zealand Navy, NZDF and police personnel will be deployed," he said.
Police and other emergency services were called to Lake Moawhango about 5:40pm last night, after a soldier in his late 20's fell overboard from an inflatable boat while taking a part in a training exercise.
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said the disappearance was a "very tragic situation and we are attempting to do all we can to locate the body as quickly as possible".
Asked about the chances of finding the man alive, he said "it doesn't seem very optimistic at all".
Mastrovich this afternoon said the Royal New Zealand Navy Operational Dive Team had been called to help with the search using sonar equipment.
The divers were expected to arrive in Waiouru later this evening to assist with the search when it resumes tomorrow.
"A search got under way last night, involving NZDF personnel, police and the Square Trust Rescue Helicopter, however, the missing soldier was not located."
However, given the depth of Lake Moawhango, they were only able to conduct a shallow search around the shoreline of the lake, he said.
Defence Force personnel had also searched on the water and the shoreline. About 50 people were helping look for the soldier.
Waiouru Army Base chief of staff Dave Harvey said the army was in the process of working with support from police to co-ordinate efforts.
Mastrovich said the missing soldier's next-of-kin had been informed but police and NZDF would not release the man's name at this point.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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