Missing boatie sparks search operation

William Kerry Blair
William Kerry Blair

Police are concerned for a boatie not seen since Saturday in the Marlborough Sounds and will make an aerial search today.

Marlborough police are seeking information from the public about a 9 metre aluminium boat that left Erie Bay about 4pm on Saturday.

They said 55-year-old local man William Kerry Blair was onboard and at this stage they had no idea what his intentions were.

MISSING:  The 9 metre aluminium boat left Erie Bay about 4pm on Saturday.
MISSING: The 9 metre aluminium boat left Erie Bay about 4pm on Saturday.

The harbourmaster and commercial vessels have searched the Marlborough Sounds and at this stage it appears the vessel has left the Sounds area, but its intended destination was unknown.

Police say the behaviour is out of character for the man who is an experienced seaman, and weather and sea conditions have been good.

On Sunday the Harbourmaster searched Queen Charlotte Sound and regular broadcasts have been made over the marine radio to all vessels to look out for the boat.

Yesterday the Nelson Coastguard searched Tasman Bay to the top of Farewell Spit. Today the Nelson boat has searched the Abel Tasman coastline from Awaroa back to Nelson.

The West Coast Coastguard vessel which was in Nelson travelled back to Greymouth yesterday and searched that route.

Freight vessels travelling along the West Coast were also on the lookout yesterday.

The aluminium boat has a hard top which is painted white and it has a blue stripe along the side. It has an inboard diesel engine and has fuel tanks capable of taking it an extensive distance. The boat is called Erie.

Police would like to speak with anyone who has seen the boat or anyone who has information that may help locate it, call Blenheim police 03 578 5279.