11 Feb 2012

Missing Huntly boy presumed dead

7:46 pm on 11 February 2012

A 13-year-old Huntly boy who went missing after jumping into the Waikato River on Friday is presumed dead.

Police say the search for Zharian Watkins will resume on Sunday.

The boy disappeared after jumping from a tower on a rail bridge at Huntly while swimming with friends on Friday afternoon.

A search was launched using boats, a police helicopter and emergency workers who scoured the river banks.

Sergeant Blair Donaldson says the the police national dive squad was helped in Saturday's search by various watercraft.

"We've had something like, all up, about 30 boats in the water including kayaks, waka and steel frame boats - larger boats - but still to no avail."

Mr Donaldson says the river is moving slowly, at about 2 kilometres an hour.

He says the search has so far extended to Ohinewai, which is about 10-15 kilometres downstream.