LATEST: The body found near Paritutu Rock yesterday morning has been identified as Brazilian exchange student Felipe Melo.
The 17-year-old went missing on August 8 along with Spotswood College student Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye, 17, and Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits Education Centre instructor Bryce John Jourdain, 42, after they were swept into heavy seas during a traverse of Paritutu.
Melo's body was found, still wearing a climbing helmet, in the water intake of the Contact Energy Power Station by an employee shortly before 7am yesterday.
His name was released in a press conference today where his uncle Jose Martins spoke on behalf of the family.
"Felipe touched everyone with his joy, friendship and music," Mr Martins said.
"Felipe was a great son, he was very much loved by his family, had many friends and a strong desire to live."
Melo's body was found just a day after search efforts were called off by police.
Since then the search has been ramped up as the discovery increases the likelihood of finding the two bodies still missing, Taranaki search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Andrew Ross said.
Shoreline searches for the bodies of Kahukaka-Gedye and Jourdain have resumed and an aerial search took place this morning, but nothing has been found yet.
Mr Ross said search efforts would focus on the area between Kawaroa Reef and Back Beach.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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