29 Jan 2013

Boat found, but no sign of missing man

4:09 pm on 29 January 2013

Police searching for a Katikati man missing since his boat capsized in Tauranga Harbour have found the vessel, but say the 52-year-old is presumed to have drowned.

Police say it appears a rogue wave overturned the four-metre aluminium boat between Bowentown and Matakana Island about 5pm on Monday.

They say the four younger people aboard were the man's 23-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, a seven-year-old grandson and a 14-year-old friend of the teenage boy, who managed to swim to Matakana Island.

Sergeant Dave Litton, of Waihi, said the group were unable to raise the alarm until they flagged down a passing boat about 7.30pm which brought them ashore.

They were treated at Tauranga Hospital and discharged on Monday night.

There were life jackets on the boat, but it is not known whether everyone on board was wearing one.

On Tuesday, searchers from Waikato and Auckland conducted an extensive search of the inner harbour and plan to continue looking for the man until Tuesday evening.

The search will be reassessed on Wednesday.