Private search mooted for missing trio
Fri, 10 Aug 2012 2:18p.m.
By 3 News online staff
Family and friends of the three missing rock-climbers who fell into the sea in New Plymouth are looking to launch a private search to recover the bodies.
It would add to the current search which was boosted today with more army personnel, rock-climbing experts and an easing of rough swells.
Around 40 police officers are also involved with the search, including its dive squad.
Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye, 17, Brazilian exchange student Felipe Melo, 17, and climbing tutor Bryce Jourdain, 42, went missing on Wednesday afternoon.
The two Spotswood College students were climbing on Paritutu Rock when they fell into the sea. Mr Jourdain jumped in to save them.
Families thank searchers
The father of one of the students issued a statement today thanking searchers for their ongoing efforts.
“On behalf of our family, we would like to thank all of those involved in the search for Stephen, Felipe and Bryce,” said Bruce Geyde, the father of Stephen.
“We are hearing stories of people who are using their own boats and canoes to search. So many people are asking how they can help, including people we don't even know. Your kindness is hugely appreciated.”
Mr Gedye also thanked those who attended a vigil last night at Paritutu Rock.
“Your thoughts and words spoken there last night are appreciated.”
Mr Jourdain's wife, Robyn, also issued a statement thanking those involved in the search effort
"We know they are doing their job to the highest standard, exactly like Bryce would have done in his work.
"[He was] such an amazing husband, Dad, son, brother, friend and workmate," she says.
"Bryce you are my rock, we love you."
Hundreds attend vigil
The climbing tragedy shocked the Taranaki community which gathered near the accident site for a candlelight vigil last night.
Students from Spotswood College and members of the wider community held hands and candles on the beach and prayed for the trio to be found.
Some students from the school performed a haka and sang the national anthem.
Taranaki Hospital chaplain Murray Elliot addressed the gathering from the roof of a nearby van.
“As I look out here and see the light, it says there is hope, this is not the end,” he said.
“Take strength from everyone beside you holding the light. Support each other, encourage each other.”
Two girls from the crowd also spoke, thanking all those involved with the search effort.
“They’ve all taken a lot and they are doing everything they can to bring those boys back. There’s nothing we can say to give enough thanks for what they’ve done,” the pair said.
The search moved to a recovery operation yesterday.
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10/08/2012 4:33:24 p.m.
Gail and Trevor Simons wrote:
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all--miracles can and do happen.
10/08/2012 4:17:15 p.m.
Melanie Pullen wrote:
My daughter was in the same class at school with Grace when the family lived in Whangarei- we can't believe that this has happened. Our hearts go out to Robyn, Grace ans Isacc. Bryce was a great bloke and a wonderful family man. We are not supprised that he went in to help the students we just wish that things had ended differently............Our thoughts are with you all.The Pullen family
10/08/2012 2:26:20 p.m.
Heartfelt thoughts are with the families and friends of the missing, and hope they are found soon and the wait is over. Hope that something comes out of this and safety measures are changed and outdoor pursuits are safer for everyone.
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