An experienced seaman who went missing in the calm waters of
Marlborough Sounds three days ago didn't tell anybody where
he was going, and the search for him is proving a "needle in
a haystack", police say.
The last possible sighting of Kerry Blair, 55, was near Cape
Jackson about 5.30pm on Saturday.
His vessel is equipped with navigation equipment and a radio
and weather and sea conditions have been good.
Mr Blair has made no attempt to use his radio or cellphone
and his family have grave fears for his welfare.
Niece Georgia Bidois says the disappearance is "extremely out
of character" for the "much-loved father of three and
grandfather of four".
"There are many people looking for him and want to see him
get back safely, although as more time passes things are not
looking good," the 23-year-old said.
"We are desperate to find him and fear for his wellbeing. If
we can can get any help at all we would really appreciate
On Sunday, the Harbourmaster searched Queen Charlotte Sound
and regular requests for other vessels to look for him have
been made over marine radio.
The Nelson Coastguard has searched Tasman Bay to the top of
Farewell Spit, and the Abel Tasman coastline from Awaroa back
The West Coast Coastguard vessel, which was in Nelson,
searched on its way back to Greymouth.
Freight vessels travelling along the West Coast have also
been on the lookout.
Search coordinator Sergeant Bill Talbot said there were a lot
of fishing boats off the West Coast of the South Island and
they had all been informed of Mr Blair's vessel's
The 9-metre Senator brand aluminium boat, called Erie, has an
inboard diesel engine and is capable of travelling long
distances, depending on the amount of fuel onboard.
It has a white hard top and a blue stripe along the side.
Police say the behaviour is out of character.
Mr Talbot said without having any indication of Mr Blair's
intentions the potential search area was enormous.
"We don't know if he has been motoring and if so what
direction, or drifting, or whether the boat has gone down.
Right now it's a needle in a haystack."
Today, police are also investigating whether Mr Blair had
discussed any plans with anyone.