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Hopes fade for missing wakeboarder

Published: 10:01AM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: ONE News

Police say hope is fading in the search for a missing teenager after a jetboating accident on the Clutha River in the Waitahuna confluence area.

Around 80 volunteers spent the day searching for a teenager Blake Mckenzie Sinclair, 18, of Clutha Valley.

Police said that he has not been seen since falling off his wakeboard around 3.30pm yesterday.

Search efforts have been hampered by the high level of the river and the poor visibility as a result of spilling from the headwaters.

The search resumed at 7.30am and included 13 jet boat teams and nine field teams. The family also had the assistance of a friend's helicopter which was used to search the areas down downstream of the last reported sighting.

Police said they were told by family members, who had been wakeboarding on the river, that one of their group fell from the wakeboard and did not surface as expected.

"He (Blake) has had a mishap with the wake from behind the boat and was ejected into water from the kneeboard," said Sargent Craig Dinnissen.

Dinnissen said the Clutha community had rallied behind the well-known Sinclair family.

"They are a very well-known family...been in the community for generations."

Police say lifejackets were on board the boat but refuse to confirm whether Sinclair was wearing one.

The National Dive Squad is arriving this evening to assist with tomorrow's search effort.