A mum of three missing children has spent days searching for her family at a remote beach and “calling them home”.
The children's 34-year-old father Tom Phillips and his children – eight-year-old Jayda, six-year-old Maverick and five-year-old Ember – were last seen at a family gathering on September 11.
Their grey Toyota Hilux was discovered abandoned in the surf the next day on Kiritehere Beach, almost 250 kilometres south of Auckland, on New Zealand’s North Island.
The children’s mother Catherine told Newshub she had gone to the remote beach "every day talking to the children and calling them home".
She has also used a private plane to comb the coastline for the kids and their dad.
The children’s granddad, Paul Phillips, told the New Zealand Herald he feared a “rogue wave” had swept them out to sea.
"It's looking more and more likely that it's not the answer we want," he told the news outlet.
The coastline is rugged and has unforgiving terrain.
Police have actually told volunteers not to get involved in the search for the family.
“We understand people want to help, however the search area is extremely challenging, and we don't want a situation where people become injured or trapped, causing another search or rescue incident,” Waikato west area commander Will Loughrin told Stuff.co.nz.
The search continues.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.