A kayak was found at Tarakena Bay, Wellington, at about 3.30pm on Sunday, with some freshly-caught fish in it. PHOTO/NZ POLICE

Missing 22-year-old kayaker named, rescue effort under way

TOM TAYLOR
tom.taylor@age.co.nz

A kayak found floating in the water on Sunday afternoon at Tarakena Bay, Wellington, has triggered a Search and Rescue operation extending to Palliser Bay.

Koyren Campbell, 22, had gone out kayaking from Moa Point near Wellington Airport on Sunday morning and had not returned at midday as expected.

The kayak was found at about 3.30pm on Sunday with freshly-caught fish in it, according to police.

On Sunday night, the Wellington Police Maritime Unit boat, Lady Elizabeth IV, as well as a Wellington Airport rescue boat, were searching on the water for the man.

A helicopter searched from the air, and Police Search and Rescue began land-based searches.

By 10.30pm on Sunday night, search teams had been stood down.

Searches resumed early Monday morning, with the Wellington Maritime Unit on the water in Palliser Bay by 6am.

A Maritime Unit crew member on board the Lady Elizabeth IV said the Wellington Coastguard boat, Spirit of Wellington, was working alongside the Maritime Unit.

“We’ve been concentrating on Palliser Bay, mainly because of the weather – this northerly is pushing towards Palliser Bay,” the crew member said.

“We’re getting smashed around a bit,” another crew member said.

MetService reported poor conditions for boating at Cape Palliser on Monday, with maximum gusts of 31 knots blowing northwest at 4pm.

A Royal Airforce NH90 Helicopter was searching an area south of Palliser Bay, with the Wellington Westpac Rescue Helicopter searching closer to the shoreline and around the Wellington coastline.

As winds became too strong for helicopters to fly, a friend of the kayaker set up a Givealittle page to get a thermal imaging drone to continue searching.

“He is the most amazing friend and has a partner who loves him dearly, as well as family and friends,” the friend said on the Givealittle page.

The drone would cost $400 an hour to operate, plus a call-out fee and travel.

By 5pm, the Givealittle page had accumulated over $2600 in donations.

Throughout Monday a Search and Rescue team had also been operating on the shoreline, mainly between Pencarrow Head and Turakirae Head, west of Palliser Bay.

Other search parties repeated searches conducted on Sunday along the Eastbourne, Wainuiomata, and Wairarapa coastlines.

  • Police asked anyone who located any items of interest along these coastlines to contact Police immediately on 111 and quote the event number P045173862.


×