One of the survivors of this week's boating tragedy at Omokoroa returned to the scene to help police and divers looking for his missing mate.
The man yesterday helped searchers after 23-year-old Shaun Hogarth went missing when a boat carrying four people flipped near Matakana Island in Tauranga Harbour on Tuesday night.
Three men made it to shore and one - 22-year-old Liam Kane - raised the alarm before vanishing. Police have appealed for anyone who knows his whereabouts to come forward.
Last night, police revealed they had found clothing belonging to one of the three survivors. The men appeared to have been fishing with borrowed rods and bait they had bought. None appeared to have been wearing life jackets.
The survivor who yesterday returned to the Omokoroa jetty for the first time since the accident spoke of the fateful night.
Wearing dark sunglasses and drawing on a rolled-up cigarette, the man was visibly shaken.
He told the Bay of Plenty Times the sea chop had been "pretty rough" when water first came into the small dinghy, which was found the following day near the island.
"But I wasn't too concerned at the time," he said.
The men had been drinking before taking the boat out into the Omokoroa channel "for fun" about 8pm.
When the boat flipped, two men swam for shore. Shortly after, Mr Kane did the same. Mr Hogarth disappeared.
The man said from the jetty yesterday he had not realised how serious the situation was when the water first began coming in.
He was to appear in Tauranga District Court today as one of two men charged with stealing the boat they had been using that night. The Bay of Plenty Times has not named the man for legal reasons. Yesterday, he boarded the Tauranga Harbourmaster boat with a police detective to direct it through the course the men had taken in the Omokoroa channel, and to the location where it capsized. The boat slowly navigated the western side of the Omokoroa peninsula, where police and navy divers using sonar equipment were moored to a beacon. Land searchers continued scouring the shorelines.
It is understood family friends were helping with the search.