21 Jan 2012

Search to resume for boy swept out to sea

6:57 am on 21 January 2012

A search will resume on Saturday in west Auckland following the disappearance of a teenager while swimming.

Lifeguards raised the alarm after the 15-year-old boy got swept out to sea from O'Neill Bay north of Bethells Beach about 2pm on Thursday.

Police say he was swimming with other people in conditions that were moderate, although there were a reasonable number of rips.

An Eagle helicopter, at least 15 surf lifesavers and police land search and rescue personnel looked for the teenager on Friday.

A Westpac Rescue Helicopters spokesperson said the boy was last seen about 100 metres offshore.

The spokesperson said that while it is unclear what happened, it's possible some younger children got into trouble in the water and the boy went out to try and help them.

A search around rocks and north and south of the beach on Thursday found no sign of the boy.

Family members who have gathered at the beach have asked for privacy.

Tom Burgess of Surf Lifesaving New Zealand says O'Neill Bay is not patrolled by lifeguards and is notorious for rips, and the organisation does not recommend people swim there.