Thursday, 4 Mar 2021

Body found in search for man missing in Waikato River

A body has been found during the search for Calvin Harimate, who has not been seen since falling off the back of a jet ski near Port Waikato on Saturday.

Friends, family and members of the public have been scouring the river on foot and by boat as they desperately try to find him.

Yesterday, more than a dozen family members on jet skis, quad bikes and on foot searched the river bank, along with several members of the public, including one person taking out a barge, a volunteer from canine search and rescue and a couple on a boat.

A police spokesperson said a body was located shortly after 2pm today.

“Police have been supporting the family and a blessing and karakia was held at the site by local kaumātua today.

“Police’s thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the man’s family, who have requested privacy at this difficult time.”

The matter will be referred to the Coroner.

Harimate’s niece Alessea Herrick told the Herald yesterday her uncle had been jet skiing on the Waikato River just down from the Tuakau Bridge with about five friends about 8pm on Saturday.

The 46-year-old father-of-one was riding on the back of the jet ski when the driver did a sharp turn and he fell into the water.

By the time the driver turned around to collect Harimate he had disappeared and night was falling, she said.

Police found Harimate’s life jacket.

Herrick said Harimate was an experienced jet skier and swimmer. It was understood that he had been wearing a life jacket but it must have fallen off when he hit the water.

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