Missing Bay of Plenty fisherman's body found

09:11, Jan 07 2013

A fisherman who was swept away while trying to cross a river mouth in Bay of Plenty has been found dead, police say.

The man was crossing the mouth of the Motu River, near Whakatane, while fishing with a group of friends when swept down the river.

Relatives of the man found his body about 150 metres from the point where he had gone missing.

The man, who lived locally, was aged 41 and not 25 as previously reported, police said.

He will not be named until police have confirmed that all next of kin have been notified.

Large swells and rips have been causing trouble for swimmers and boaties in the region this afternoon.

Police issued a warning about 5pm, saying waves were more than 1.5 metres high, and numerous rips were causing significant dangers.

At Mt Maunganui three men aged between 20 and 30 were rescued today when they were unable to get back in from about 150 metres to 200 metres offshore, Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service head lifeguard James Roy said.

One of the men was from Brazil, but the other two were from the local area. Both were rescued using an inflatable boat.

Large numbers of people had been at the beach, enjoying warm and sunny weather, Roy said.

"With heavy surf comes large rips that are moving very quickly. Combined with a strong offshore wind, it's a recipe for people getting into trouble."

Fortunately, most people had listened to advice from lifeguards to swim between the flags.

The big swell, which also kept lifeguards busy yesterday, followed a period of flatter water that came after the swells pushed up by Cyclone Evan around Christmas.