11 Aug 2012

Still no sign of three missing rock climbers

10:01 pm on 11 August 2012

There's still no sign of two students and a climbing instructor presumed drowned after going into the water off New Plymouth's Paritutu Rock on Wednesday.

Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye, 17, and Felipe Melo, also 17, a Brazilian exchange student, and instructor Bryce Jourdain, 42, have been missing since being washed off Paritutu Rock on Wednesday.

An extensive shore, sea and air search continued on Saturday, involving more than 150 people.

Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Andrew Ross says Airforce and Coastguard planes have been assisting, and a helicopter has been searching along the coast and two nautical miles out to sea from Bell Block to Oakura.

He says aerial searches are likely to continue on Sunday because it's much easier to see someone from the air than it is in a boat.

Swimmers equipped with goggles and snorkels managed on Saturday to get into a sea cave, but could go no further due to the size of the swell.

Sergeant Ross says the cave is about three metres across at the entrance and goes back about 40 metres. He says visibility is about 1.5 metres.

Meanwhile, students at Spotswood College in New Plymouth are being advised to be careful when using social media in the wake of the tragedy of their missing classmates.

College principal Mark Bowden says it is important that students take care with what they read and write in social forums.

He says they should try not to make judgements on information that may or may not be true.

Mr Bowden says the school will continue to support the students.