2 May 2012

Inflatable raft and beacon from wrecked boat found

11:11 pm on 2 May 2012

Police have located parts of an inflatable raft and an emergency beacon from a fishing vessel wrecked in Fiordland.

The crayfish boat K-Cee with two on board set sail on Sunday and a search for skipper Bruce Gordon, 42, of Te Anau and crewman Darren Allen, 37, of Wairio began on Tuesday.

Police divers spent Wednesday afternoon assessing part of the boat, which was towed to Neck Cove on Secretary Island at the entrance to Doubtful Sound.

The semi-submerged hull of the 13.5-metre aluminium craft was found at about 6pm on Tuesday 16km from the island. Wreckage was also located near Rocky Point on the western side of the island.

The emergency locator beacon was also recovered from a beach on Secretary Island. Police say it is in good condition, but had not been activated.

Hopes of finding the missing men alive are fading and family members are gathering at Te Anau as they wait for news.

Southland area police commander Inspector Lane Todd said damage to sections of the hull indicates that the K-Cee hit something.

"With a major part of the bow being essentially ripped off the main part of the vessel, that would have to be quite a large impact."

Police have suspended the search late on Wednesday night and will resume on Thursday morning.