Search for missing woman and child in Manawatu River continues

Divers resume the search for a missing woman and child in the Manawatū River at Palmerston North in Ahimate Beach.

SINEAD GILL / Tips

Divers resume the search for a missing woman and child in the Manawatū River at Palmerston North in Ahimate Beach.

Police believe a woman and child reported missing in the Manawatū River in Palmerston North have drowned.

The extensive search for the pair, who went missing in the river on Wednesday, has been put on hold overnight.

The police dive team joined the search on Wednesday.

The team initially did not join the search and rescue team on Thursday morning as they were engaged in another search for a missing diver near Te Araroa in eastern Cape Town.

However, a police spokeswoman said a second team of off-duty divers had traveled to Manawatū to assist.

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Alecia Rousseau / Tips

Search and rescue for a missing woman and child on the Manawatū River.

The search resumed at 9 a.m. on Thursday, and by 4 p.m. the dive team was finishing the day.

A police media spokeswoman said kayaks would be used to continue the search for an additional hour, and the dive team would then resume their search at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Search and rescue officer Andy Brook said teams searched the surface of the river until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

He said police believed the couple had drowned and “expected to find them underwater.”

He confirmed that the two were not good swimmers.

Search and rescue teams travel the Manawatū River in search of a missing woman and child.

Alecia Rousseau / Stuff

Search and rescue teams travel the Manawatū River in search of a missing woman and child.

Police Inspector Ross Grantham said police were called around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

An 11-year-old girl wearing a pink swimsuit had entered the water from the shore of Ahimate Beach and it looked like she had been struggling, he said.

A 25-year-old woman related to the child entered after her, and the two disappeared from sight.

The woman was wearing a blue dress when she was last seen.

Observe the family as the divers search the area.

Sinead Gill / Stuff

Observe the family as the divers search the area.

Family members who were present at the time set off to search for the couple, but could not find them.

A rāhui was placed on the river by kaumātua Manu Kawana, stretching from the Ashhurst Bridge to Ōpiki. No one other than search and rescue teams can enter the water until it is lifted.

About 15 people from the New Zealand Karen Association came from Auckland on Wednesday evening to support the family.

Translator Cici Dwe said the family were refugees and arrived in New Zealand around 18 months ago.

“We are a small community and coming from a refugee background, we want to be there for each other. “

Jason Hina sets up a catering tent to support families and emergency service workers as the search continues.

SINEAD GILL / Tips

Jason Hina sets up a catering tent to support families and emergency service workers as the search continues.

Kaihautū, leader, Rob Hewitt also went to the river.

“I came down to support the whānau. See what’s going on around New Zealand [in the] the last week and a half.

He said there had been too many drownings and people needed to understand and identify the risks associated with the water.

“This group here didn’t have strong capabilities.”

Jason Hina, who is part of the local iwi, arrived on Wednesday evening and performed a karakia.

Search and rescue efforts continue on a beach on the ManawatÅ River where a woman and child have gone missing.

Alecia Rousseau / Stuff

Search and rescue efforts continue on a beach on the ManawatÅ River where a woman and child have gone missing.

He said that as long as the rāhui was in place, there should be no fishing or swimming in the river.

“The reason is that once a drowning occurs, she is scared, taped.”

Hina appealed for support and, with the help of the Legacy Church, walked down the river Thursday with food and drink for the whānau and emergency services.

Police used a rescue helicopter, search and rescue teams and a fast water rescue team to scour the river, but at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday they had not been able to locate them.

The river is swollen from recent rains and still discolored.


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