Search for missing American skydiver Tyler Nii suspended

The search for missing American skydiver Tyler Nii has been suspended. 

Mr Nii, 27, from California, has been missing since January 10 when he disappeared in Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown after a tandem jump with skydiving company NZONE.

His tandem skydiving instructor was recovered from the water following the incident and taken to hospital with minor injuries. 

The Police National Dive Squad completed the final phase of their sonar search on Tuesday and had not located Nii, Otago Lakes District Area Commander, Inspector Olaf Jensen says.  

The search area was a 300-metre diameter radius from where the other skydiver was rescued, Jensen says.

He says, "This has been a difficult search, given the weather conditions on the lake and the depth of searching."

Police have been searching to the depth of 340 metres, taller than the Auckland Sky Tower, which stands at 328 metres, he says. 

"We were obviously wanting to return Tyler to his family and it's very disappointing that this couldn't be done.

"We have advised the Nii family of this."

The Niis, who came over to New Zealand, will be returning to the United States on Thursday, he says. 

"While they are naturally disappointed that they do not have Tyler to take back with them, they are appreciative of the efforts undertaken by police to recover his body." 

Police will provide details of the search efforts to the coroner to assess in the ongoing coronial process. 

A statement from the family says: "We want to thank Kate and Phillip Rive, of Cecil Peak Station, who were extremely helpful in the initial search on the lake for Tyler, and for all the support they've given the ongoing search. 

"Their efforts have been outstanding, as have those of the police. 

"We also want to thank the businesses of Queenstown that have supported us with food, vouchers and other activities while we've been staying in town.

"We can't get over the support that's been shown across New Zealand and in the Queenstown community."