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The police dive squad has been called in to search for the body of a man who fell from his kayak just north of Gisborne yesterday.
The 25-year-old local, whose name has not been released, went missing while paddling with his female partner about 1km from the beach near Turihaua Point.
The pair, whose kayaks were lashed together, were having trouble in strong offshore winds and had been blown 600m out to sea when the man fell from his vessel.
He was not wearing a lifejacket.
An 82-year-old man who was camping at the beach went out in his dinghy to help, but was able to rescue only the woman.
Sergeant Greg Lexmond said the camper was heading towards the kayaker, who was still afloat, when he saw him disappear beneath the water.
Police were alerted to the disappearance at 4.40pm and a search operation also involving surf lifesaving crews, the rescue helicopter and another aircraft was launched.
However, the man was not located.
The search resumed at first light this morning, with the police national dive squad arriving in Gisborne about 9.30am.
"The plan was for the squad to dive on the area where we believe the missing man may be," Mr Lexmond said.
The focus at this stage was to recover his body.
"We want to get closure for his family," he said.
Victim Support were with the family and the elderly man who rescued the woman.
"He is also very distraught about the tragedy," Mr Lexmond said.
- Gisborne Herald and APNZ