Dive squad joins search for trio
Sat, 18 Aug 2012 12:13p.m.
By David Farrier
Police divers today resumed their search for the climbing instructor and two students who fell off Paritutu Rock into the sea and have been missing for more than a week.
The divers took advantage of a brief break in the weather along the coast of New Plymouth.
It's day 10 of the search and it was a window of opportunity.
“We've got a bit of a break today, so five divers have come up to help search the area,” says Senior Sergeant Bruce Adams of the police dive squad.
The dive team focussed on a particular area, where two students and their instructor fell into the water. Their search took them about 150m offshore.
They arrived yesterday, but weather hampered their efforts. With a 1-metre swell today, they had relatively clear conditions underwater.
“It's a hot zone where the children have entered the water, and the instructor,” says Mr Adams. “We're just trying to eliminate whether they are there, whether they've been caught up there. Unfortunately that doesn't look like the case.”
With no bodies in sight, the bad weather closed in again and the team returned to shore without a chance to explore the area where instructor Bryce Jourdain was last seen.
“We certainly feel for the families and everyone involved. It has been a huge effort by the local community. Everyone is pitching in.”
The team has now returned to Wellington to take part in another search.
“In all honesty we are winding down,” says Area Commander Frank Grant. “We are still hopeful the three missing will be found.”
Police say there's no plan to send the dive team back to New Plymouth unless new information comes to light.
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