Any hope of finding alive an 18-year-old man who went missing in the sea off New Plymouth this morning is fading.
The man and his 26-year-old friend were clearing craypots about 6.30am when their dinghy capsized near Moturoa Island and they decided to swim for shore.
The older man threw a lifejacket to his companion when he began to struggle, but it was not known if he managed to put it on.
Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said the search - which included coastguard, surf life saving rescue boats and Port Taranaki's pilot vessel - would continue until it got dark, and would resume tomorrow if necessary.
But the chances of finding the missing man alive were diminishing with each passing hour, he said.
"It's a tragedy for the family if that's the case, that we can't locate this young man alive."
The 26-year-old was in a serious but stable condition in Taranaki Base Hospital.