It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A young man has vanished from a notorious surf beach, leaving family and friends baffled.
Rhyan Rego could not swim and was usually reluctant to go into the water.
The 21-year-old Unitec student was last seen standing in ankle-deep water at Muriwai just after 6pm last Thursday.
He left his spot on the beach where he had been watching his friends' belongings as they swam, and went into the sea.
He has not been seen since and his parents fear the worst.
His five friends had been swimming, and three of them decided to go and get takeaways for dinner.
Each group thought Mr Rego was with the other, and it was not until they sat down to eat about 35 minutes later that they realised he was missing.
They searched for him, and alerted police at 7pm.
Mr Rego's parents Vincent and Ernestine were called soon after, and went to Muriwai to help search for their youngest child.
"When I was going out there I was hoping that somehow, even though it was a long shot, that he got out of the water," Vincent Rego told the Herald yesterday.
"It's a fact that he went into the water, the question is, was he in far enough for him to get himself into trouble?
"We are asking the Lord to bring him back miraculously ... We are assuming he drowned but there is no evidence. We haven't found his body, so we are hoping he is somewhere else."
Vincent Rego said his son was last seen in his swimming trunks standing in the water.
"He didn't know how to swim and that's the reason he wasn't particularly fond of going in the water.
"But, we know he has not contacted us and not returned home. So that evidence seems to point to him going too far into the water and getting caught in the current."
Police, search and rescue teams and Mr Rego's family and friends searched the area where he went missing for four days. But there has been no sign of him.
Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter crewman Leon Ford spent more than an hour in the air searching for Mr Rego the night he went missing.
"It was dark by the time we got there. The water was really rough, and there was a strong south westerly blowing," he said.
"I wouldn't go out there in surf like that, it was quite big."
The crew used night vision goggles as they searched the area where Mr Rego was last seen.
"We had a really good visual, but there was no sign. Police were also looking and they had night vision goggles and thermal imaging equipment."
The call-out squad from the Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service also joined the search.
Mr Rego left his clothing, cellphone and wallet on the beach.
"We are keeping his mobile on and fully charged, we want to hear his voice," said Vincent Rego. "We have been calling his voicemail to give us that feel of his voice ... just to know that he is somewhere.
"It is extremely, extremely difficult, the sudden and very tragic way that he went."
Mr Rego's siblings Rhys, 27, and Rhea, 26, were struggling to come to terms with his disappearance.
"Rhea and Rhyan were born on the same day. As each day goes by it's becoming a little less hard, but there are times where she just gives in to her grief."
He said his son, who was to complete a graphic design degree this year, loved art and music and sang in a band.
"He was an artistic guy, he loved to have a lot of fun. He had a wide range of friends, he was quite a colourful guy."
Vincent Rego begged other beachgoers to not go beyond their limits in the water.
"My advice to youngsters is to heed those warnings and take a lesson from the experience our family is having. There are signs at beaches that say swim between the flags, and no lifeguard on duty; take notice and don't venture into the water."
A prayer service will be held for Mr Rego at St Dominic's Church in Blockhouse Bay tomorrow at 7pm.
Patrol Superintendent David Butt said Mr Rego would not have stood a chance in the dark and rough conditions.
"It was quite big and messy, there was an incoming tide," he said.
"We were out there for about an hour. We've been out several times since, searching around the rocks and up the coast."