Man missing after 2am boat fall
Police and the Coastguard are making a shoreline search for a missing 45-year-old Blenheim man who fell from a launch in the Marlborough Sounds about 2am today.
The search is under way in Endeavour Inlet area near the northern entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound.
Furneaux Lodge owner Geoff Faulkner said the man was with his daughter and her partner on the launch when he fell overboard. He was not wearing a lifejacket.
The trio had visited Furneaux Lodge earlier in the night and were heading back to a bach at Marine Head, near the entrance to Endeavour Inlet.
The trio had arrived at the lodge between 7pm and 8pm and left to return to the bach about midnight, Faulkner said.
They were drinking beer and playing pool, but he did not believe they had much to drink.
"Our bar staff said they didn't appear to be inebriated when they left," Faulkner said.
He hoped the man would be found alive, but was concerned he had been missing for a long time.
"It is still a search," he said.
"It depends how close they were to the coast. If they were close to the shore, there is still a chance."
The water was cold at this time of year, he said.
The lodge's general manager had been searching in the lodge boat since 3.30am. The conditions had been calm, Faulkner said.
It is understood one of the people on the boat sent out a mayday call, saying a person had been lost overboard.
Police, a Coastguard helicopter and a rescue boat from the Bluebridge ferry Santa Regina were involved in the search this morning, with the police dive squad joining from Wellington.
A Bluebridge spokeswoman said its rescue boat searched for about three hours before it was stood down just before 6am.
The ferry was left running about three hours behind schedule.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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