Mates of missing man find K-Cee wheelhouse

Last updated 05:00 12/05/2012

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Three mates of missing Te Anau fisherman Bruce Gordon, 42, who went missing from his crayfishing boat in Doubtful Sound on April 30, have achieved what police could not.

Following ''gut instinct and facts'' paua divers Doug Fox, Rob Emitt and Murray Braven found the remains of the K-Cee's wheelhouse yesterday and now want expert police divers to return for further investigation.

Mr Fox said the three friends, the Te Anau community and the missing men's family had not been ready to give up and felt let down by the official search.

''The search was abandoned because police told us they did not have a defined area to search and the area was too big,'' Mr Fox said.

''But information and facts we had found during ground and air searches were given to police at a debriefing and we thought by doing that we had given them a defined area.

''Now we just want the expert police divers to come and do a job that needs proper equipment.''

An aerial sweep off the Fiordland coastline on Thursday by police revealed ''nothing of significance.''

Following the sweep, a statement was released saying unless new information came to hand, it was unlikely there would be further active searches. Not ready to give up on the search for their friend, the three divers took advantage of a small window in the weather to follow their instinct, Mr Fox said.

''On the ground search on Rocky Point there were some clues and on one of the helicopter searches, myself and another person saw some light hit what appeared to be an object in the water.

''From these facts, the three of us, the families and some sponsors from Te Anau decided we would get a helicopter up and continue looking after police said they were scaling down the search,'' Mr Fox said.

With the help and support of experienced fishermen who informed the trio of a break in the worsining weather, Southern Lakes Helicopters the three men reached the spot where Mr Fox believed he has seen the reflection beneath the surface of the water.

Mr Gordon's three mates, free dived down and confirmed their gut instinct when they located the remains of the K-Cee's wheelhouse.

''This is an important discovery,'' Mr Fox said.

''With the recovery of the wheelhouse a complete investigation and perhaps some closure for the families may be possible.''

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd said police were taking the new information onboard and would reassess the situation in consultation with the police dive squad.

''We are aware a private dive made further discoveries in regards to the K-Cee after information was passed onto police late on Friday afternoon,'' he said.

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''The information will be passed on to the police dive squad who will then make any further decisions to return to the site.''

Mr Todd said police had been in regular contact with the family's of the missing men and sympathised with them wanting answers and results.

- The Southland Times

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