17 Aug 2012

New Plymouth search for missing three scaled back

5:05 pm on 17 August 2012

The official search for three people missing at sea off New Plymouth is to be scaled down.

Students Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye and Felipe Melo, both 17, were washed into the sea on 8 August and instructor Bryce Jordain, 42, jumped in to assist them.

Land, sea and aerial searches have been carried out every day since.

The Police Dive Squad abandoned an attempt on Friday because underwater visibility was near-zero, but will try again on Saturday morning.

Taranaki Search and Rescue co-ordinator Andrew Ross says private searches by volunteers will take place over the weekend but police searchers are being stood down.

Sergeant Ross says because of currents, the recommended area of coast line for volunteers to search is north of Paritutu Rock.

He says he also knows of some searching going on south of New Plymouth and around Cape Egmont.