Family in 'shock and grief'

Emily Branje
Emily Branje
Christchurch girl Emily Branje is missing and presumed drowned after she was swept out to sea while whitebaiting with an older relative at the Hokitika River mouth on Thursday.

The 9-year-old girl who has not been seen since she was swept away during a whitebaiting expedition at the mouth of the Hokitika River, was visiting from Christchurch.

Police said yesterday Emily Branje, had arrived to spend the school holidays with extended family in Hokitika.

Emily's parents said through the police they were in "shock and grief" for the loss of their only child.

"This is a tragic, incomprehensible time for us and we request privacy while we come to terms with what has happened."

Senior sergeant Brent Cook, of Greymouth police, said they were continuing to support family though the difficult time and were not giving up the search.

Search efforts continued overnight on Thursday and a search of the river mouth was conducted at low tide.

Mr Cook said the search would continue over the weekend and would be widened as time went on.

-By Janna Sherman

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