31 Dec 2021

Body recovered thought to be that of girl missing with woman in Manawatū River

11:55 am on 31 December 2021

Police searching for a woman and child who went missing in Palmerston North's Manawatū River have recovered a body.

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File pic Photo: 123RF

Formal identification is yet to take place, but police believe it to be the body of the 11-year-old girl.

The two swimmers were last seen in the river near the end of Maxwell's Line on Wednesday afternoon.

The police diver squad had resumed the search for the pair this morning.

Manawatū police area commander Sarah Stewart said a liaison officer was working with the affected families.

"[The girl] was found approximately 500m from where she went into the water. We are very pleased for the family that we were able to find her, but obviously it's distressing and devastating for them."

Search conditions had improved over the past two days, as rescuers continued to look for the 25-year-old woman.

"We have the national dive squad here. We also have search and rescue, water search and rescue and the surf lifesaving teams all working together to continue searching the river," she said.

An air, water, and ground search began the same day they reportedly went underwater and failed to surface.

The river was high on Wednesday afternoon after heavy overnight rain.