Family “devastated” as shoreline search for missing Tongan swimmer called off

    New Zealand: A shoreline search for a Tongan teenager missing off a remote Auckland beach has been suspended, but aerial searches were continuing on Sunday.

    The 16-year-old boy went missing at Whatipu beach in Huia, West Auckland, about 1.30pm on Saturday.

    A relative told Kaniva news he felt for the boy’s mother.

    Reports on social media said the missing boy was Sam Leka.

    A commentator said the family was so devastated. He was at the beach during yesterday’s search.

    “Sam Leka please come back so that we return home together. We love you so much,” he wrote on Facebook in Tongan.

    The victim was in the water at Whatipu Beach with two others when they got into trouble.

    Two women made it back to shore, but the police, Coastguard and search and rescue volunteers were still looking for the boy.

    Police said “they continue to perform periodic aerial searches with EAGLE helicopter.”

    “Surf Life Saving will continue to perform sweeps of the beach area in the coming days, supported by Police staff,” it said.

    A local reportedly said swimming at the beach was not recommended due to the wild nature of the waves.

    Police also said they were focusing on continuing to provide support to the family of the missing swimmer.

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