27 Mar 2015

Wrecked metal found near Curio Bay

6:16 pm on 27 March 2015

Police searching for a missing Southland boy say an underwater camera has located what they believe is car wreckage in a rocky cove near Curio Bay.

Police placed markers above Blue Cod Bay where tyre tracks came to an end. The cove, near Curio Bay, is at the centre of the search for Michael Zhao-Beckenridge, 11, and his stepfather John Beckenridge.

The cove near Curio Bay at the centre of the search. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Michael Zhao-Beckenridge, 11, disappeared from school two weeks ago and is believed to be with his stepfather John Beckenridge, 64, in breach of a court parenting order.

Mike Zhao-Beckenridge

Mike Zhao-Beckenridge Photo: SUPPLIED

The police national dive squad is in a cove just south of Curio Bay in the Catlins, where the wreckage of Mr Beckenridge's luxury Volkswagen is believed to be in the water.

Tyre tracks and an oil slick pointed to the car having been driven off an 80-metre cliff.

The rough seas have made it unsafe to dive so, for the first time, police have used an underwater camera attached to a helicopter to try to see the car and whether anyone is inside it.

The cove is small and the cliffs around it have made it a delicate operation.

A police spokesperson said the camera has located a large amount of wrecked metal below the cliffs but they have not been able to confirm it is from a car or establish if anyone is inside.

An attempt will be made to get more detailed pictures at low tide, either later today or tomorrow.

A police dive squad boat at Curio Bay.

A police dive squad boat at Curio Bay. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The cove near Curio Bay, with a red buoy to mark the spot where an oil slick was found.

A red buoy marks the spot where the oil slick was found. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

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