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Search halted for missing catamaran pair

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/01/2017

An extensive search operation to locate an Australian man missing in a catamaran with his six-year-old daughter has been called off, with police saying they may have sailed out of New Zealand waters.

Alan Langdon, 46, and his 6-year-old daughter, Que, sailed from the Waikato coastal town of Kawhia on December 17, while reportedly in the middle of a custody dispute with the girl's mother.

The air force, Coastguard and other groups have searched for the pair along the North Island's western coast, from Wellington to Cape Reinga, and the eastern coastline from Cape Reinga to the Bay of Islands.

Police say while there have been a number of unconfirmed sightings of similar vessels off the upper North Island, no significant leads have been reported since the New Year.

"It has been suggested that the boat was stocked for a voyage, but it is unknown what direction (Mr Langdon) went after leaving the vicinity of the Kawhia Harbour," police said in a statement on Thursday.

"Interpol have been notified of the missing boat and its occupants, in the chance that he has sailed to Australia or the Pacific Islands."

While the physical search has been halted, police will respond to any new developments.

The child's mother, Ariane Wyler, had earlier reportedly hired Australian child recovery specialist Col Chapman to conduct a private search.

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