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Hope fades for teenager missing for five days after failing to resurface in river

Hope is fading for a teenager who remains missing after failing to resurface in Canterbury’s Waimakariri River five days ago.

An 18-year-old was reported missing after jumping into the river and failing to resurface at about 7.10pm on Wednesday.

His disappearance triggered a search that included the coastguard, a search and rescue helicopter, surf lifesaving members and police.

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Police divers from Timaru, Auckland and Wellington arrived in Christchurch early on Thursday and joined the search for the teen. They continued on Friday, searching the shoreline, alongside the young man’s friends.

The search was then suspended on Christmas Day and is yet to resume.

A police spokeswoman was unable to confirm whether there were any efforts to continue the search on Monday.

Members of the police national dive squad search for the missing teenager on Thursday.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Members of the police national dive squad search for the missing teenager on Thursday.

Stuff understands two people went into the water and one got out, but the other got into difficulty and was swept down the river.

Mike Jackson, of police search and rescue, said on Thursday the teenager was new to the area, which may have contributed to him getting into difficulty.

The Waimakariri River was a “lovely river”, but some parts were very deep and had a strong current, he said.

A search and rescue helicopter searches for the young man.

Supplied

A search and rescue helicopter searches for the young man.

There have been several drownings in the Waimakariri River over the years.

Auckland swimmer Kapuaiwaho “Kapu” Waretini, 38, went missing after going for a swim near the Waimakariri Bridge on January 30.

Waretini’s body was found in the river a week later near Kairaki.

Nurse Helen Wood, 62, died at Kairaki Beach, at the mouth of Canterbury’s Waimakariri River, on September 22, 2017, after her vehicle slipped into the river and was submerged while she was setting up her whitebait trailer.

There have been several drownings in the Waimakariri River over the years. (File photo).

Alden Williams/Stuff

There have been several drownings in the Waimakariri River over the years. (File photo).

In 2010, 15-year-old Reece Haenga Puhipuhi-Albert, cousin of New Zealand rapper Scribe, drowned during a trip to the Waimakariri River.

Puhipuhi-Albert had been swimming with his family when he got into difficulty near the old Waimakariri Bridge and failed to resurface.

In 2009, Lale Sioa Taiulu, 16, drowned while trying to save his brother. They were part of a larger group playing rugby in the water when they got caught in strong currents. Larry Pau, a 26-year-old labourer and father of three, drowned in the same incident.



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