28 Dec 2013

Two feared drowned in Northland

9:45 pm on 28 December 2013

The Coastguard says at least one person has drowned at a remote Northland beach after being swept into the surf while net fishing on Saturday.

Another person is missing and the search for them has been stopped for the night.

The Coastguard's Hokianga unit went to the aid of three people on Saturday afternoon after they were seen to be in difficulty at Maunganui Bluff beach north of Dargaville.

A spokesperson, Georgie Smith, said two people were washed to shore before the Coastguard boat could reach them and one of them died soon afterwards.

Ms Smith said the second person was seriously injured and was flown by rescue helicopter to Northland Base Hospital in Whangarei, where they were reported to be in a stable condition.

She said the Coastguard hadn't been able to find a third person spotted in the waves, and it was feared they also may have drowned.

Ms Smith said on Saturday evening that searchers had been stood down for the night, but would return to the beach in the morning.

She said the area is known for its heavy surf and it was not known whether the three were wearing lifejackets.