Boy, 13, missing at sea after boat capsizes

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 14:21 18/01/2013
DANIEL GALVIN/Fairfax NZ

A 11-year-old boy is missing at sea after the boat he was in capsized and he drifted away from his family.

Boat capsizes in Hauraki Gulf
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Maritime police bring the family's boat Ocean's One ashore in Auckland.

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A 13-year-old boy is missing at sea after the boat he was in capsized and he drifted away from his family.

Police, helicopters and the coastguard have called off the search for the night after combing the Hauraki Gulf near Kawakawa Bay for the teenager after the boat, a 4m runabout, capsized within an hour of launching at 11am yesterday.

Three others, male family members from Papakura, were rescued early this morning after a yacht came upon the upturned boat - named Ocean's One - near Ponui Island just before 9am.

By that time the trio had spent more than 20 hours in the water.

Inspector Shawn Rutene said the men had huddled together in the dark clinging onto the boat.

It was unknown when the 13-year-old drifted away. A coastguard spokeswoman said he was wearing a hoodie and long pants.

"There are fears," Rutene said. "But there is always hope." 

Police and coastguard vowed to keep searching as long as possible.

This morning two of the trio were found clinging to the overturned boat and one was found floating nearby. The yacht rescued one of the survivors while the Westpac rescue helicopter winched the second aboard.

The third person was spotted by the police Eagle helicopter and a crew member jumped into the sea with a floatation device to rescue him. Both were then recovered by the police launch Deodar.

None of the survivors were wearing lifejackets when they were found. There were two life jackets onboard when it was towed ashore.

Two of those rescued are in Auckland City Hospital while the third, a 21-year-old, arrived at the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre, in Mechanics Bay, about 1pm on the police launch Deodar.

He was seen briefly by paramedics then emerged wrapped in survival blankets and was placed into a waiting ambulance.

He was hypothermic and shaken but was able to help police with their search for the missing boy.

Coastguard operations manager Ray Burge said there were probably too many people in the boat given its small size. He said the men should have checked the weather and taken better safety precautions.

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