Navy joins search

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 23/08/2012

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Two new searches are under way today in an effort to bring home the two people still missing from the Paritutu tragedy.

The New Zealand Navy answered a request from Taranaki Search and Rescue and yesterday supplied specialist sonar equipment.

It is now more than two weeks since the August 8 rock-climbing tragedy where Spotswood College students Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye and Felipe Melo, both 17, and their Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre instructor Bryce Jourdain, 42, were swept out to sea.

Mr Melo's body came ashore on Sunday near Paritutu rock. A funeral will be held at Spotswood College at 1pm on Saturday.

Search and Rescue Sergeant Andrew Ross said the navy would be scanning the ocean around Paritutu rock and the main breakwater at Port Taranaki from about 7.30am today.

"They will leave at low tide and search for about five hours, recording anything they find up to about 500 metres out at sea."

The Wellington police dive squad boat and a Conservation Department boat will be used for the search. Divers would also continue their search of the area, Mr Ross said.

A second operation around the rocks of the main breakwater will be carried out by Taranaki Search and Rescue.

"We've been waiting awhile for the tide and sea conditions to be right for us to search the main breakwater because it's quite slippery and can be dangerous," Mr Ross said.

"A team of us will go out and will probably be using harnesses and we'll have an IRB in the water as well in case anyone does slip in."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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