Student's family was still hopeful
Mon, 20 Aug 2012 6:19p.m.
By Samantha Hayes
Police have confirmed the body found near New Plymouth's power station early yesterday is that of 17-year-old Brazilian exchange student Felipe Melo.
He was washed into the sea earlier this month with two others while traversing Paritutu Rock, and was identified by comparing his clothing with recent photos.
Mr Melo's uncle, Jose Martins, says even though he'd been missing for nearly two weeks his family were still hopeful he'd be found alive.
“He was very much loved by his family, had many friends and a strong desire to live,” says Mr Martins.
Mr Melo had been due to return home to Brazil but decided to stay on with his host family in New Plymouth.
His host parents Ken and Virginia Bryan say he loved music.
“There was a song that he sang for Spotswood College called ‘Home,’ he liked The Beatles, he liked a wide range of music.”
Mr Martins says the loss of his nephew will stay with his family.
“We will never forget that the sea in New Plymouth took our boy away,” says Mr Martins.
But he says his family will also never forget those who brought his nephew's body home.
“A very kind and genuine people, willing to do whatever it takes to help us,” he says.
The bodies of two others who also went missing during the traverse of Paritutu Rock have not yet been found, but searchers aren't giving up.
Sergeant Andrew Ross of Taranaki police search and rescue says conditions are making the search difficult.
“There's a lot of debris in the sea today, quite stormy conditions so there are a lot of animals and things floating around in the sea but we haven't located anything else but it'll be more of the same tomorrow.”
But if better weather prevails the dive squad will return to Taranaki tomorrow.
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20/08/2012 9:08:22 p.m.
Ex DOL Inspector wrote:
In all the TV coverage of this incident I have not seen one Police Officer or searcher wearing a flotation device despite them being in danger of being swept of the rocks into a raging sea!!
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