Family keeps vigil at beach
The search for two fishermen missing off the coast of Port Waikato resumed yesterday.
However, police said yesterday they no longer expected to find the men alive due to the time they had spent in the cold water.
A shoreline search was their main focus yesterday.
South Auckland brothers Maka and Aisea Inoke and a third man, Hopapi Pepa, were washed out to sea on Sunday afternoon while net fishing near the river mouth of Port Waikato.
Mr Pepa was found about 5pm that afternoon about 9km south of Karioitahi. However, lifeguards were unable to resuscitate him using CPR.
They also found the men’s nets and other items. The brothers, from Manurewa, were yet to be found as of yesterday.
Family members, along with police, scoured the shoreline north of Port Waikato on Tuesday.
Speaking at Karioitahi Beach, the men’s sister in-law, Mele Nafetalai, said the family were trying to stay positive. They arrived with police about 11am and stayed until low tide at 3pm.
Mrs Nafetalai said her husband was dealing with the news as best he could. ‘‘ We are just waiting for any news from the police really,’’ she said.
Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi and Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service members spent several hours on Tuesday searching the coastline by boat during high tide and land during low tide but failed to find the men.
Two helicopters and Coastguard boats were also involved in the search periodically.
Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi senior lifeguard Dean Lawrence was part of the team involved in the initial search.
He said it could be a dangerous stretch of beach and the club’s own lifeguards would not swim in that area. The beach was known to have strong rips and currents. ‘‘As much as a lifeguard will go out in that to rescue someone, they wouldn’t swim there,’’ he said.
He urged people not to go anywhere beyond their capabilities.
Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service president Malcolm Beattie said the trio were ill-equipped to be fishing at the river’s mouth