Search for Bay View man widens [14 January 2003]
Police and friends of a Bay View “character” today widened their search for the man who went missing after crossing the Esk River on a four-wheeler motorcycle last Sunday.
Police search and rescue co-ordinator senior sergeant Mike Wright said the 65-year-old man, who has not been seen since visiting a mate’s house, had not been named because his relatives, including some in Australia, had not been located.
“It’s not looking good for him,” Mr Wright said.
One of the missing man’s friends, Rick Graham, of Shoreline Helicopters, joined the search yesterday when he heard he was missing, described him as a “real identity – a good bloke.”
Mr Wright said the man’s disappearance was reported by his elderly mother yesterday morning.
“She thought he must have stayed with his mate overnight after going to see him on Sunday afternoon. His mate thought he had made it home to his mother’s house okay after crossing back over the Esk River on his four-wheeler,” he said.
She started ringing around the man’s friends in the morning after becoming increasingly concerned and by the time police became involved friends had already begun searching the coastline.
Mr Graham lamented that people who found the four-wheel bike in the surf near the rivermouth some time around 7pm on Sunday, had not reported it straight away. Police only learned of the find early yesterday afternoon.
He said had he known about the discovery straight away he would have started looking for him on the air yesterday and searched as far north as Waikare. Sea conditions were murky due to southerly swells.
After police officers became aware the motorcycle had been recovered from the surf they upgraded their search north and south of the rivermouth.
The Hawke’s Bay Coastguard Air Patrol carried out a shoreline search yesterday afternoon and would be back in the air today. Eight police and civilian search and rescue personnel, along with locals, were today searching on foot as far north as Tait’s Beach north of Tangoio and south to the Beacons at Westshore.
Mr Wright said searching would continue all day and tomorrow. It would then be reassessed.
The man’s elderly mother was being comforted by her family.
Photo caption – SHORELINE SEARCH: Police officers Graham Morrell (left) and Bruce Miller, make their way down to the search area north of Bay View this morning.
HBTODAY PICTURE: ANDREW LABETT