SEARCHES of a New Zealand beach by up to 60 people has failed to find Fijian rugby player Eroni Ravaga Gaunavou who went missing four days ago while swimming.
The 22-year-old, who had just been in the country for two months and was playing rugby for a local club, went missing at the northern Wairarapa’s Akitio beach on Monday while swimming with two friends.
Rough weather has hampered aerial and water searches.
Up to 60 people – many of them community members, friends and rugby club friends of the popular young Fijian – were checking the beach at each low tide north and south of the point where Mr Ravaga Gaunavou was last seen, said Sergeant Andy Brooke.
“There’s a huge groundswell of local support who are doing their very best to find this young man so that he can be returned to his family,” he said.
“In the short time he has been in New Zealand to play rugby he has made many friends and everyone is pitching in to help.”
Helicopter searches were continuing, he said.