Girl found but boatie still missing on Manukau Harbour video

Coastguard brought the dinghy ashore at the Weymouth boat ramp.

Coastguard brought the dinghy ashore at the Weymouth boat ramp.

The search for a man missing in Manukau Harbour has been suspended for the night, as police interview an 8-year-old girl who was rescued after the boating tragedy.

The vessel the pair were in was recovered on Thursday afternoon, but there was still no sign of the missing man.

An alert was raised late on Wednesday afternoon after an empty 12 foot aluminium boat was found adrift on the high tide.

Simon Maude/

Bottle Top Bay, Karaka resident and fisherman Karl Van der Way describes fishing on Manukau Harbour.

Police, coastguard and a hovercraft from airport crash rescue conducted a search and found an eight-year-old girl treading water around 7.30pm.

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On Thursday, volunteer skipper Rod Frost said the dinghy was anchored near Auckland Airport. 

Pearce leads the search from Bottle Top Bay on the southeastern Manukau Harbour.

Pearce leads the search from Bottle Top Bay on the southeastern Manukau Harbour.

When his crew reached the vessel it was upturned and partly submerged, but it had not been upturned when local fishermen located it last night, Frost said.

It was unclear who had anchored the boat.

The 12 foot aluminium dingy was in good condition "for its age". When coastguard brought the dinghy ashore at the Weymouth boat ramp, police took it away.


An eight-year-old girl pulled alive from Manukau Harbour after treading water for more than two hours has now been discharged overnight from Middlemore Hospital.

On Thursday, the conditions out at sea hampered the search for the fisherman.

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Coastguard northern operations manager Daniel Pearce said: "It's a little bit rougher than yesterday, winds are up to 45km." 

Police said they believed the girl was in the water for several hours when she was found on Wednesday night. 

The boat was found adrift in the Manukau Harbour on Wednesday afternoon.

The boat was found adrift in the Manukau Harbour on Wednesday afternoon.

It was not clear whether the pair had been wearing life jackets.

The girl was taken to Middlemore hospital and released on Thursday morning to her family. 

Police have appointed a Family Liaison Officer to support the family and specialist child interviewers are talking with the girl to find out what happened.

Police said it was still unclear what went wrong.

Coastguard searched on land, sea and from the air until 11pm Wednesday.

The search resumed on Thursday with a combined effort from the coastguard boat, Eagle helicopter and the maritime unit, police search and rescue, coastguard and the airport crash fire hovercraft. 

The harbour's low tide came in around 10.45am and was expected to hamper search efforts as the harbour's mudflats are notoriously problematic when exposed.

​In October 2016, a man and his dog were rescued after becoming stuck in mud in the Henderson Creek in West Auckland.

And in January 2015, a woman was pulled to safety after she was stuck in mud for more than an hour in the Okura River, north of Albany. 

 - Stuff

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