Search for missing woman scaled back

Police believe a missing woman whose vehicle was abandoned last night has ended up in the water at a west Auckland beach.

Police, a land search and rescue team, surf lifesaving teams and the Westpac rescue helicopter spent this morning searching the Piha area for the woman, after her car was found unlocked in the Mercer Bay area.

Most of the searchers and the rescue helicopter had been stood down by about 2pm today because nothing of any significance had been found.

Surf club patrols would continue searching the coastline for the remainder of the day, Sergeant Dene Duthie said.

"Search teams remain available in case further information comes to hand but at this stage it seems likely that the woman has somehow ended up in the water."

Police would like to hear from a couple who might have seen the missing woman about 7.15pm last night (Saturday) walking down the Mercer Bay loop track.

The couple told a local resident about their concern for the woman, and police were called.

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