Phone call before two men lost

9:07AM Thursday Oct 30, 2008

The search for a pipeline worker missing off the Christchurch coast will resume today amid reports that a mystery phone call failed to raise concerns for the two men believed thrown from their inflatable boat.
The body of Jody Dallas Campbell, 29, was found by a rescue helicopter at 3.30am yesterday off the Lyttelton heads.
There is still no sign of his colleague, Tony Utteridge. The search for him was suspended last night and a helicopter will resume a shoreline search today.
The two men, who were aboard a six-metre inflatable boat, had been working on a new sewage outfall pipe. The pipeline is being built by McConnell Dowell for the Christchurch City Council.
The alarm was raised after they failed to return to port on Tuesday.
McConnell Dowell general manager Roger McRae said the men's boat was due to arrive at Lyttelton about 7pm. Fifteen minutes after that, a survey boat was sent to look for it, The Press newspaper in Christchurch reported today.

At 8.15pm, the searchers called Sumner Lifeboat for help, and a small lifeboat and jet-ski joined the search. At 8.30pm, the police were notified.

The mystery phone call from one of the two workers to colleagues, made from their boat shortly after 6.30pm, did not raise alarm bells, he said.
"There was no noise heard or anybody talking just some background noise, but nothing to give cause for alarm."
The boat was fitted with VHF radio and an emergency locator beacon, which raised an alarm immediately if activated. That was expected to be used in an emergency.
Sea conditions were reportedly okay at the time. "We are at a loss to understand exactly what happened."
Search and Rescue controller Sergeant Tony Tully said it was assumed the boat overturned in the rough seas due to the strong north-westerly winds.
The incident follows other mishaps involving the pipeline project and the company Heron Construction, which is a subcontractor to McConnell Dowell.
In December a man, working on a tug being used to stabilise a barge laying sewage pipes, lost a leg when a steel cable snapped.
Maritime NZ said yesterday that Heron Construction and the skipper of the tugboat had pleaded guilty to the charges relating to the December incident.

Phone call before two men lost - 30 Oct 2008 - NZ Herald: New Zealand National news