The West

An Australian tourist is missing after getting into trouble while swimming downstream from a dam on New Zealand’s North Island.

The man, in his 20s, went for a swim in the area known as the Full James Rapids, downstream from the Aratiatia Dam on the Waikato River near Taupo, New Zealand police said today.

He started calling for help. A female companion ran to the riverbank but he disappeared from view. Police were called about 6.15pm.

A jetboat, jetski and inflatable are searching the river.

Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said the search would continue tonight for as long as realistically possible.

She would not say where in Australia the man was from while his next of kin were being contacted.

The gates of the Aratiatia Dam, about 14km downstream from Lake Taupo, are opened several times a day to create temporary but spectacular rapids.

The last opening each day is at 4pm, which meant the rapids would have died down by the time the man went swimming.

It was not known if the man was a strong swimmer, Ms Perks said.

The West Australian

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