13 Dec 2013

Body found in Waikato River

4:52 am on 13 December 2013

Hamilton police say it may take some time to confirm if a body of a man recovered from the Waikato River is that of missing Australian Paul Arber.

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Photo: RNZ

The body was found not far from the Fairfield Bridge by a team of rowers from Hamilton Girls' High School who were training shortly before 7am on Thursday.

Police say the black shorts on the person are similar to what Mr Arber was last seen wearing near the river early on Sunday morning.

Two people saw the 38-year-old from Melbourne standing knee-deep in the river about 4am on Sunday. After being encouraged to get out, he then turned back in the direction of the river.

Mr Arber had been in Hamilton with a large group of children for a tennis tournament. His grey tracksuit has been found.

Police say identifying people submerged in water for prolonged periods of time presents some challenges and a formal identification will require forensic testing. However, they say there is nothing to suggest foul play.

Principal Marie Gordon said the girls coped extremely well. Counselling from Victim Support and the school's counsellors will be available to them for as long as it is needed.