Story published Wairarapa Times-Age
By Nathan Crombie
An elderly South Wairarapa man was found dead in a police search involving boats and a helicopter after he disappeared while whitebaiting on the Ruamahunga River yesterday afternoon. Senior constable Tony Matheson said the man, 86, was reported missing about 1.30pm from a location at Puhitarata about 7km upstream from the river mouth at Lake Ferry . He said the man was whitebaiting with a group of friends who joined a police search launched a half an hour later that scoured the riverbank and also involved a helicopter and searchers on jet skis. Police officers found the man deceased near where he was last seen, Mr Matheson said. Amalgamated Helicopters director and pilot Jason Diedrichs said he joined the search about 3pm although the missing man was found within an hour of the Carterton-based machine taking to the air. “We scanned up and down the river several times but then got the radio call that the man had been found by searchers on the ground.” The incident has been referred to the coroner as a sudden death, Mr Matheson said, and his name has not yet been released.