Land search for fisherman missing off rugged west coast beach

The alarm was raised by other people fishing  at Papanui Point at 11.15am on Monday.

The alarm was raised by other people fishing at Papanui Point at 11.15am on Monday.

Land based searches will begin today for a man feared washed from the rocks off a rugged west coast beach.

The search will focus on the area off Papanui Point, south of Raglan, where he was last seen in the water at 11.15am on Monday.

The Hamilton man had been fishing at the notoriously dangerous spot when he is believed to have been swamped by a wave.

The man's fishing rod was found where he was last seen at Papanui Pt.

The man's fishing rod was found where he was last seen at Papanui Pt.

Those nearby fishing raised the alarm.

Police arrived at the point, located about 40km south of Raglan, to find the man's bag, fishing rods and car. 

Search and Rescue Sergeant Vince Ranger said the man had left his Hamilton home sometime during the night on Sunday and headed out to the west coast point to go fishing.

Jetskis assist in the coastal search for a Hamilton man missing from a Ruapuke beach.

Jetskis assist in the coastal search for a Hamilton man missing from a Ruapuke beach.

He spent a good part of the early Monday morning casting off the rocks.

His white car was towed from the carpark on Monday afternoon.

Ranger said police had spoken to the man's family but were not yet in a position to release the man's name.

Police mounted a large scale search around midday on Monday, utilising the Gallagher Coastguard rescue boat and jet skis on the water. 

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From the air, a fixed wing plane and Auckland Westpac Rescue helicopter scoured the waves off around the point located at the northern tip of Ruapuke Beach. 

On Tuesday a team would conduct a land based search around the Ruapuke rocks, Papanui Pt and Ruapuke beach, Ranger said.

That part of the west coast was a notoriously dangerous spot, he said.

"There has been a number of people drown there in the past, some from falling off the rocks. It is a gnarly sort of coastline."

The Metservice reports a gale force wind warning is in place for Ruapuke where northwest winds were expected to rise up to 40 knots. 

A northwest swell is expected to rise to 4 metres for a time with a southwest swell of one metre dying out. 

Possible thunderstorms are expected in the area on Tuesday afternoon. 

"There's two metre swells and strong winds and rain, which won't help us too much."

Meanwhile police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the man or have any information that could help to contact Search and Rescue Sergeant Vince Ranger direct at Hamilton police on (07) 858 6200.


 - Stuff

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