26 Jan 2020

Body found in search for teen missing off the Dunedin coast

7:19 pm on 26 January 2020

The Police believe they have found the body of a teenager who disappeared in the ocean off St Clair Beach in Dunedin on Thursday.

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Vinnie Beecroft was seen entering the water off the coast of Dunedin and not resurfacing. Photo: YouTube

Vinnie Beecroft got into trouble in the water on Thursday.

Formal identification hasn't yet been carried out, but the police believe it's the 14 year old.

Search co-ordinator Sergeant Nathan White said it's not the outcome rescuers wanted, but they're relieved they can return Vinnie to his family.

Earlier, Vinnie's family thanked everyone involved in the search for him.

Family spokesperson Kathy Peters praised the young boys Vinnie was with when he got into trouble at Second Cliffs and those involved in the search.

"Vinnie's family wish to express their utmost gratitude for the efforts that have been made by everyone in the search," Peters said.

"A special thanks to NZ Search and Rescue, police, Victim Support, Surf Life Saving NZ, especially at St Clair, and all others involved.

"Very special thoughts and thanks go to the young boys who were there with Vinnie at the time.

"Their efforts were truly brave and heroic in their bid to help Vinnie when he got into difficulty at Seconds Cliff on Thursday afternoon."

She said the boys had spent the afternoon having fun around the water, enjoying the day, when tragedy struck.

The police national dive squad spent Friday and yesterday looking for Vinnie alongside crews from Surf Life Saving and Marine and Land search and rescues.

The police yesterday said it was now a body recovery mission due to the amount of time that has passed.

A shoreline search was carried out this morning and local crews are still searching for the teenager.

"Unfortunately, Vinnie's immediate family have endured a number of tragic events over the years and are trying to cope with the current situation as best they can," Peters said.

"They ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time...

"Again, thank you to all those involved and to the services and people that know Vinnie well and have supported him in the past.

"A heartfelt thank you is expressed for the ongoing support you are offering."