A search for two Doubtless Bay fishermen who were reported overdue on Sunday night ended successfully yesterday afternoon.
Seventy-two-year-old Michael Ward and his 23-year-old son John left Mill Bay at around 2pm on Sunday aboard a 4.8-metre aluminium pontoon boat. They were due back at 9pm, and when they did not return the family alerted the police.
The Whangaroa Coastguard boat left Whangaroa Harbour about midnight and began a coastline search, from the harbour to Berghan Point and into Doubtless Bay. No sign of the boat was found, and Kerikeri Coastguard Air Patrol dispatched a fixed wing aircraft at first light yesterday, to search the coastline as far as Moturoa Island, off Cape Karikari, and south to the Cavalli Islands.
Vessels from the Whangaroa and Bay of Islands Coastguard resumed searching an area from the Nine Pins to Cape Karikari, while numerous radio messages were sent to boaties, including those taking part in the Whangaroa one base fishing tournament.
Police communications manager Sarah Kennett said the pair were found safe and well by Whangaroa Coastguard at 1.30pm yesterday, 1.6 nautical miles offshore, north-east of the Tekura rocks. The outboard motor had broken down, she said. The boat carried no means of communication and no emergency flare kit.