19 Jan 2021

Police searching for missing kayaker appeal to public to be vigilant

9:47 am on 19 January 2021

Police searching for missing Wellington kayaker Koyren Campbell have been inundated with offers of help, and are asking the public to keep a lookout for him.

The kayak was found floating in Tarakena Bay.

Koyren Campbell 's kayak was found floating in Tarakena Bay. Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Campbell's kayak was found near Tarakena Bay at 3.30pm on Sunday, with some freshly caught fish on board. He had been due to return to land about midday on Sunday, police said.

The police national dive squad, two LandSAR teams, an air force NH90 crew, and police launch Lady Elizabeth IV are due to continue the search today, weather permitting.

The search area will continue to focus on the areas mapped by the Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCCNZ), from Sinclair Head to Palliser Bay.

Police search and rescue incident controller Sergeant Tony Matheson said night searching carried on to about 11pm yesterday, but no further clues were found.

"Our information base is pretty much the same as what it was on day one," he said.

"Our focus is pretty much been ... targeting the areas where he may have been taken by the sea."

The dive squad will continue searching the area where the kayak was found.

"We've got some ground search teams ... targeting areas where he may have been washed in to a shoreline.

"We've got some significant air search activity this afternoon."

Matheson said the 22-year-old had had the kayak for about two months.

"The stuff that that we have found on his kayak seems pretty consistent with what you'd expect people to have when they go out fishing," he said.

Searchers did not find a locator beacon or VHF marine radio on the kayak "but otherwise his canoe seemed to be in pretty good order".

The team was getting a lot of offers from the public to help, he said, including searching with helicopters and the use of thermal imaging devices and drones.

For safety reasons, the SAR team would not be taking on members of the public or giving them search tasks. "But we certainly appreciate all of those offers and the family were also very grateful for all those sorts of people who were out there trying to find Mr Campbell."

Instead, police are asking the public to keep a lookout.

"If you're out there fishing, if you're out there on your own canoe, if you are out there looking, just be vigilant, he is there somewhere. Let's hope he's there to be found.

"It isn't always the search and rescue people who find people, a lot of the time it is the public, and we very much know that, and we do want their help."