Family 'devastated' as teen lost at sea off Whatipu beach remains missing

The Tongan family of the teenage boy who is missing off the coast of a west Auckland beach just want him home.

They've been waiting on the Whatipu beach shoreline watching as the police helicopter and a coastguard plane scour the sea for any sign of the 16-year-old.

He went in the water with family members at the treacherous Whatipu beach not long after lunchtime on Saturday, but it wasn't long before they got into trouble with the strong currents.

The teenager's sister was in the water with him, but managed to get to shore and was taken to Waitakere Hospital.

She's since been discharged, and police say she was back here at Whatipu Beach today waiting with family. A family supporter told Newshub the family are devastated. 

A land search was abandoned on Sunday morning, with rescuers putting all their hopes on spotting the missing boy from the air.

There's no official patrol at Whatipu beach, but volunteer surf life savers did rush to the scene to try to help initially were part of the initial search.

Beach-goers at Whatipu on Sunday said they were aware of the risks the water poses there.

For now, the family waits desperately hoping for news of their beloved boy.