Search for missing kayaker Koyren Campbell suspended, family say he was ‘doing what he loved’

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Police believe a missing kayaker in Wellington is no longer alive and have suspended the search for him.

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Photo: NZ Police

The 22-year-old Wellington man has been missing since 12pm on Sunday when he failed to return from a fishing trip.

Earlier in the week police said Koyren Campbell’s kayak was found near Tarakena Bay at 3.30pm on Sunday, with some freshly caught fish on board.

Incident controller Senior Sergeant Dave Houston today said the search has been suspended and Campbell’s family have been made aware.

He said yesterday teams finished a grid search of Tarakena Bay.

The decision to suspend a search is never taken lightly, he said.

“It is believed Mr Campbell is no longer alive, and our best efforts to locate him have unfortunately not been successful.”

Sergeant Houston said the search will be reviewed upon receiving any further relevant information.

“We would ask those on the coastline of Wellington and Wairarapa to keep their eyes peeled for any items that may be of interest to search teams, such as a life jacket or kayak paddle.”

Campbell’s family issued a statement saying he was a young man who made the most of every day.

“He absolutely loved the outdoors and was a keen hunter and fisherman.

“He was a wonderful person with plenty of plans for his future alongside his girlfriend of four years.”

They said Campbell had a fantastic attitude to living life to the full.

“Although we do not know the complete facts that led to the tragedy at Tarakena Bay, we know that he was doing what he loved, catching a lot of fish with a bar of chocolate in his pocket.

Words cannot express our gratitude to all the people involved with the search.”

The family thanked all those who helped in the search for Campbell.

The outpouring of love and compassion we have received is indescribable, they said.

The family have asked for privacy to mourn and said they remain hopeful for the sea and tide to return him.

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