Missing boatie 'had no lifejacket'

Last updated 19:58 05/01/2014

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A search is underway in Wellington Harbour after a man fell overboard from a small craft near the entrance to the Hutt River early this evening.

A member of the public told police about 5pm that a boatie had fallen overboard near Port Road in Seaview.

The person who reported the incident told police the boatie had been seen drifting out into the harbour from the rivermouth. 

A police spokesman said a man, aged in his 40's, and his companion were in a small boat when he fell into the water and was swept into the main harbour by the current.

It is believed he was not wearing a life jacket.

Wellington Maritime Police, Coastguard and Airport Fire Rescue boats were all activated for a sea search, complemented by an air search by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and a large number of Police staff operating along the shoreline.

The police spokesman said the river was at a very high level and the water was discoloured, making conditions dangerous and underwater visibility nonexistent.

The spokesman understood the two persons were retrieving nets at the time. 

"But the reason for them venturing into that area in such circumstances is yet to be established," the spokesman said..

At 7:30pm the boatie was still missing.

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