CoastguardMana Saving Lives at Sea

Search for missing diver - Operation Smithies

Posted by Mark Presling
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Operation Details
Fri, 11/02/2011 - 05:30 - Sat, 12/02/2011 - 16:00
Operation Type: 
People Assisted: 
Total Volunteer Hours: 

A diver was reported missing after not returning from a dive near Titahi Bay. He had contacted his wife via TXT to say he had found a good place to dive for Pauau and then disappeared. He wasn't reported missing until later that evening.

A search and rescue operation was started at first light the following morning with Coastguard Mana working alongside the Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV (who was acting as On Scene Command) as well as other vessels.

Other than a backpack containing his wallet, phone and other belongings, nothing was found of Colin Smithies until he walked into a Police station in Hawkes Bay - on the opposite side of the North Island in a fragile mental state.

He has since been prosecuted for wasting Police time for the 2 day SAR operation involving more than 40 search and rescue volunteers, a Police launch and dive squad, a Westpac rescue helicopter and Coastguard Mana. The search cost $48,000.


41° 6' 19.3356" S, 174° 49' 27.4872" E

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