Missing teen search scaled down

BELOVED: Blake Sinclair.
BELOVED: Blake Sinclair.

A teenager missing in the Clutha River after a family kneeboarding outing has been described by his parents as a "great boy".

Teams of police and volunteers yesterday continued to search the Clutha River looking for 18-year-old Blake Sinclair, two days after he fell in the water while kneeboarding with his family.

Police confirmed on Sunday night the search, involving teams on land and in the water, was looking for Mr Sinclair's body.

Last night they said the search, having found no sign of Mr Sinclair, would be scaled down.

Yesterday, his parents, Mark and Raewyn Sinclair, said he was a "great boy with a very friendly manner and a dry sense of humour" who was loved by his family and liked to do things right.

He loved the outdoors and all aspects of spending time outdoors with family and friends, including hunting, fishing, diving, boating and trail-bike riding, and had grown up jetboating at weekends.

The family had also spent time holidaying around South Otago and the southern lakes, and boating on the West Coast, they said.

"Blake was a great boy with a very friendly manner and a dry sense of humour. He wasn't one to get into trouble but he had a youthful twinkle in his eye. He was confident in his own decision-making and ability. He wasn't one for sitting down and not giving anything a go. He would take an opportunity, consider it and grab it with both hands," they said.

He had been working with a relative as a fencing contractor in and around South Otago but was looking to eventually return to the family farm.

The family thanked everybody for their efforts in trying to find "our dear lad Blake", and said the support and efforts of the specialist services, volunteers and the community both on the river and at home were greatly appreciated.

Yesterday, 18 jetboats, each with three people on board, searched the river, while 25 LandSAR volunteers conducted a land-based search of the river's edge.

Four members of the national police dive squad searched an area downstream from where Mr Sinclair was last seen.

Five Otago Regional Council staff used quad-bikes to search the Clutha River mouth and adjacent coastline area.

Four jet-boat teams will this morning search along riverbanks near where Mr Sinclair was last seen and his family plans to continue a private search, police said.

The Southland Times