Fisherman swept away, search to resume tomorrow

The search for a man swept away at the Motu rivermouth near Whakatane today has been called off for the night and will resume tomorrow.

Police said the 25-year-old local had been fishing with friends, and it appears he disappeared while attempting to cross the rivermouth. His companions are all safe.

The search began soon after police were notified about 3.50pm. Central Helicopters helped to look for the man and the Coastguard searched until about 7pm.

The man is not being publicly identified at this stage.

Police have issued a reminder about the dangers posed by the country's waterways.

A combination of rain and tropical weather means river levels and the sea surf are dangerously high. Anyone enjoying activities on our waterways is urged to take every precaution and make sure they are wearing life jackets, a police statement said.

Three drownings made the Christmas holiday period - which began at 4pm on Christmas Eve and finished at 6am on Thursday - the lowest toll in six years.

Hamilton man Jason Anthony Johns, 43, drowned at Whiritoa Beach in the Coromandel on Christmas Eve while swimming about 600 metres outside the flags.

Robert Farquhar, 29, died while he was diving at Matakatia Bay in Whangaparaoa on December 29.

Oscar-winning sound editor Michael Alexander Hopkins drowned while rafting Wairarapa's flooded Waiohine River on December 30. His wife and another man in the raft survived.

There was an average of 10 drownings during the past five Christmas periods.

A 27-year-old man drowned at Himatangi Beach on Saturday.

Jarrett Simeon, of Feilding, is believed to have been swimming outside the flagged area when he drifted away from a group of friends.

Police found his body about 100 meters from the Himatangi Surf Life Saving Club yesterday (Sun).

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