25 Jan 2015

Conditions force police divers from water

10:02 pm on 25 January 2015

Difficult surf conditions forced police divers out of the water this afternoon in the search for an 18-year-old man, who is presumed drowned at Makorori Beach, north of Gisborne.

The body of his 23-year-old brother was found soon after the pair got into difficulty yesterday morning.

An easterly swell built up during the day at Makarori and this afternoon the police dive squad suspended their scuba search.

Police said it was too dangerous to continue and that they were taking a pounding in the surf.

Search teams, including the divers, instead carried out a grid wading search along the beach, sometimes up to their chest.

The search was called off once it got dark but search coordinator Sergeant Greg Lexman said they would pick it up again in the morning. He said they were still hopeful they could find him.

Drowning victim was trying to save brother

Police say the older of two brothers who drowned at Makorori Beach yesterday died in an attempt to save his sibling and his friend.

The 20-year-old family friend managed to get to shore safely but one of the brothers, aged 23, drowned and the other, who was 18, was still missing.

The older brother had remained on the beach when the other two decided to go for a swim after they had all been fishing from the shore.

The two younger men got into trouble immediately in the one metre-plus surf.

Police said the older man reacted quickly and swam out to help, he also immediately got into difficulties in his rescue attempt.

Senior Sergeant Maui Aben said it was an absolute tragedy for the family.

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