Missing cray fisher search called off

Last updated 15:17 13/01/2013

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Maritime New Zealand has officially called off the search for an elderly man missing off the Wairarapa coast.

A 72-year-old man, believed to have been blown out to sea at Sandy Bay, near Te Awaiti, has been missing since Thursday morning when he went to check his crayfish pot in a small inflatable dinghy. 

This afternoon a Maritime New Zealand spokeswoman confirmed the official search had been called off.

A fisherman alerted police to an empty car, boat trailer and quad bike on Thursday night.

An extensive 13-hour search by an Air Force Orion on Friday located the 2 metre by 3m dinghy 68 kilometres offshore.

A helicopter resumed the search yesterday morning, but there were no sightings of the man so the air search was cancelled, a Rescue Coordination Centre spokeswoman said.

The police dive squad resumed searching Sandy Bay yesterday morning, progressively widening their search around the area near the man's crayfish pot at the mouth of the bay.

The man's dog, which he took with him on the boat, was found on the beach yesterday morning after having swam back to shore.

The man was known to be wearing a wetsuit and life jacket.

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- The Dominion Post

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