Family of Missing Man William Kerry Blair, Want more resources and skills available in Search and Rescues.

Search and Rescue operations don't always fit within an exact structure, and often contain aspects which are unique to the scenario that is unfolding in front of them.

In New Zealand, unless an absolute call for help or a locator beacon has been set off the Police are the ones in control of the Search and Rescue procedures. Police are clearly restricted in Personnel, and Resources available to them, as found out in "Operation Erie" the Search and Rescue / Missing Persons case for William (Kerry) Blair.

The search of the Area where Kerry lived was limited as the Property Owner a Wealthy Business Owner had stated they could but had to be mindful it was his place etc. This meant police had no Search Warrant, instead the permission was given to search the Luxury Charter Yacht (Which is Suppressed) of which he worked as a Skipper / Maintenance Person and the worker's cottage where he stayed with the Caretaker of the Property were searched. Despite the police stating they searched the Main House and other areas there is no evidence this was done, actually, the contrary, when giving evidence, Police described the main house as the Cottage, and not the Main House. This, of course, is fairly upsetting in itself but is only the tip of the ice burg.

Police were too stretched in resources and Personnel requirements that they looked for the easy way out the whole way down the track. Starting from the initial process of them stating "Kerry had three forms of communication none were used and he may well return home" to when they were faced with Media and Political pressure to put an Airforce Orian in the Air (Which shouldn't be done on Media and Political Pressure) which proved to be extremely valuable and found the boat "Erie" that Kerry was thought to be on had been found in under an hour of the Airforce Orian leaving Whenuapai. Even come time to report the case to the Coroner as a "Suicide" as it was the easy way out. I am not too sure if it is just the easy way out, incompetence, or they are scared of the Rich Businessman Owner / Boss. But there is no evidence which actually suggests that Dad was on the boat other than both Dad and the Boat was missing.

Several psychic mediums have come up with similar scenarios, and not one has said Kerry had left the Marlborough Sounds, and one explaining in detail the location on Land, and the people behind his disappearance. These people as described have been raised as suspects in the inquest (Unknowingly to the Psychic) and all have Name Suppression.

So obviously if it is unanimous that Kerry didn't leave the Marlborough Sounds on the 8th March 2014, it does raise questions, Who did, who was driving when the Vessel Erie was seen heading in a direction for New Plymouth at 25 Knotts approx 5 pm 8th March 2014? And where is Kerry?

More resources and options need to be available to those controlling a Search and Rescue, and those in Control of a Search and Rescue need to be competent in the procedures they are doing. In all honesty whilst in many cases the Police may do their best, I don't think they are best suited to be in control of Search and Rescues and should be reduced to a supporting role, and focus on their main Policing Duties. Communication was extremely poor and would be one of the larger criticisms of the police handling of the situation, so much so that other agencies even suggested the best form of communication was via email. This wasn't, however, the way it was relayed to the Families.

When a Search and Rescue is unsuccessful as it was in Operation Erie (Despite the pol 130 form stating Successful, and Kerry was Deceased) it is a long drawn out process and is hindered somewhat by Police Procedural issues and the issues which related to the lack of resources and personnel available in the initial process.

It is disappointing that a Coroner can make a number of recommendations, or notes etc, but none of them needs to be implemented, this creates a "what is the point in the Coronial process of Improvements" if they aren't made mandatory. This is a major concern for myself and has been highlighted by a statement in an Article Published by the Manawatu Standard Which states:

In 2015, New Zealand chief coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall made a submission to the Corners Amendment Bill following a review of the Coroners Act 2006.

In it, Marshall supported the addition of a clause to require mandatory responses to a Coroner's recommendations as it would increase the operational efficiency of the Coroners Act.

"Currently, a lack of response to proposed recommendations or comments may mean that the final recommendations or comments are less robust and useful.

"Without this power the role of the coroner is limited as there is no sanction for ignoring a recommendation."

It is, of course, a concern then that there is in the same article the following statement was made:

After Geoffrey Mark Hampton died at sea amid a bungled search and rescue operation in 2008, his parents wanted to ensure it didn't happen to another family.

But those hopes have been undermined by police scrapping its search and rescue (SAR) co-ordinator role, a job established at the Coroner's recommendation in the wake of Hampton's death.

This is highly concerning, we don't seem to be learning from our mistakes in Search and Rescue procedures, and despite Geoffery Hampton's families hopes it won't happen to another family due to staff deficiencies, the same deficiencies were present in the Operation Erie Police Operation. 

This causes alot of stress, heartache, and destroys a family somewhat, you wouldn't wish it upon your worst enemy. 

Kerry's mother didn't live to see the recommendations or what improvements might come out from the process (Still not released yet), she also thought that many had taken the easy way out by stating Kerry had committed suicide, She knew Kerry didn't and wanted it proven, Somewhat of my efforts were encouraged by her, and I done alot of what I did for her, but the process was too long for her to see it out, and she passed away aged 90 in April this Year. The disappearance of Kerry was extremely hard on her, Kerry and her were extremely close. 

Published by D Blair, Hamilton

 

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