Missing boy's body found in river

Police divers have recovered the body of a missing 13-year-old Whakatane boy from the Whakatane River.

He has been named by police as Lance Tikitere Fitzgerald.

His body will be taken to shore by the Coastguard boat where family will spend some time with him.

Lance went missing yesterday around 6pm as he was playing with friends around the base of the Whakatane Bridge.

He was standing on a concrete step and was seen to fall backwards approximately 1m into the water and didn't resurface.

Police divers found his body around 12.40pm today under a pylon. As he was pulled from the water his father started calling his name and had to be held back from the water. Other family members were wailing.

Whanau had given a karakia and waiata before the dive squad entered the water. A Rotorua Daily Post reporter at the scene said it took about 40 minutes for them to find the body.

Around 100 people young and old had gathered at the Whakatane Rowing Club as the search continued.

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