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One body recovered from water in search for missing Whangārei fishermen

The search for two fishermen at Whangārei’s Taiharuru continues on Friday after they went missing from The Gap on Wednesday afternoon. Photo / Michael Cunningham

One of the two fishermen missing in Whangārei since Wednesday afternoon has been found dead in the water.

The search is continuing for the second man.

The two men went fishing at Taiharuru, Whangārei Heads, at a spot known as The Gap. They failed to return as expected by 11pm, and emergency services were called at about midnight.

A search was launched immediately and continued throughout the day, with Police Search and Rescue, LandSar volunteers and a police Eagle helicopter looking for the two men.

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On Friday, the national police dive squad joined the operation, with the assistance of Coastguard Tutukaka volunteers, and Northland Coastguard Air Patrol is conducting searches from the sky.

The Ruakākā Surf Lifesaving Patrol search and rescue squad is also using two inflatable rescue boats to help with the task of finding the second man.

On Friday afternoon, one of the missing men was found in the water by the police dive squad.

A police spokesperson said it was a devastating development for the family of the men, and they are in everyone’s thoughts.

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A rāhui has been put in place for at least five days for the area around The Gap.

Police and volunteers from the agencies involved in the search are continuing their efforts on Friday afternoon.

The two men had recently moved to New Zealand from India, with their wives and children, and they were staying in central Whangārei, said family spokesperson Sijoy Alex, head of the Whangārei Malayalee Association.

The families of the men are being supported by the association and the wider community, and they have been overwhelmed by the support, he said.

A swell of up to 2m was running on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, police have asked members of the public to stay away from the search area, after some private jet skis were seen traveling through the area on Thursday.

While police appreciate the wider public’s support, people have been asked to stay away for the safety of the dive squad and not to impede the professional staff and volunteers in their work, a police spokesperson said.

Denise Piper is a news reporter for the Northern Advocate, focusing on health and business. She has more than 20 years in journalism and is passionate about covering stories that make a difference.