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A man in his early twenties is believed to have drowned at an East Coast beach today.
Gisborne Police were notified that three swimmers were in difficulty off Makorori Beach around 9.50am, Police Eastern District Command Centre Senior Sergeant Clint Adamson said.
By the time police arrived a 20-year-old man had managed to make his way to shore.
However, shortly after the body of a male in his early twenties was located at the beach side.
A third man, also in his early twenties, is still missing, Mr Adamson said.
The ECT Rescue Helicopter, Surf Lifesavers with an IRB, Coastguard, and locals were assisting police in their search for the missing man.
The ordeal occurred about half-way along the beach between Makorori Point and a nearby housing settlement.
St John ambulance officers at the beach pronounced the man deceased.
"When the three men got into trouble the surf was running at about a metre," a witness said.
They had been at the beach fishing.
"They had their longlines out and decided to go for a swim," another witness said.
"The current and undertows on that section of the beach are quite dangerous at present."
Police said the search for the third man would continue throughout the day.
"It is believed the men were staying at a camp ground nearby."
Police were still in the process of contacting the men's families.
A boat involved in the Bay Bonanza fishing competition has also joined the search and three others are on stand-by.
- by NZME; Additional reporting: Gisborne Herald.