Missing man's boat found off Taranaki

Family hope another attempt will be made tomorrow to rescue Marlborough man Kerry Blair, following confirmation his boat has been found off the coast of Taranaki.

An attempt to secure the vessel and bring it to shore had to be abandoned in heavy seas yesterday.

Tasman police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said Mr Blair's boat was spotted 200km off Taranaki by a Royal New Zealand Air Force orion.

A large oil industry ship equipped to operate in heavy seas was dispatched to try to reach the boat.

"The ship got to the boat but the seas out there were just atrocious and there was no way they could secure a line to it," she said.

They were not able to tell conclusively whether Mr Blair was still on board the boat. Another attempt would be made when the weather improved, she said.

Mr Blair, 55, has been missing since Saturday last week when he launched his 9m aluminium boat, Erie, from the Marlborough Sounds.

The last sighting was about 5.30pm on Saturday near Cape Jackson.

Family had raised funds through givealittle.co.nz to put up a private plane to search for Mr Blair.

The Air Force orion joined the search on Friday and located the boat on Friday evening.

On the givealittle.co.nz page, family posted that they hoped a second rescue attempt would be made tomorrow morning.

"In the meantime, we have a private boat and team on standby if needed."

More than $15,000 has been donated to help with the search.

Mr Blair's brother, Peter Blair, said he hoped weather would abate by early tomorrow morning to allow another rescue attempt.

They hoped a Navy vessel would be heading out to retrieve Mr Blair's boat, but if not the family had a private vessel on standby.

Peter Blair said they had a 20m vessel and crew ready to go out once weather allowed, should the Navy decide not to make an attempt.

He said it had been incredibly frustrating for family, particularly Mr Blair's children, to get so close and have the rescue abandoned.


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