An eight-year-old girl was pulled from Manukau Harbour by rescuers after she had been floating in the sea for three hours. Her father is still missing

A girl, who had to float and tread water for hours in Manukau Harbour in New Zealand, has been saved by rescuers.

The eight-year-old was on a fishing trip with her 52-year-old father when their aluminium boat capsized, throwing the pair into the water.

They had set out in the 3.6-metre boat from Weymouth, South Auckland on 19 April 2017.

The empty craft was found adrift by a fisherman at around 4.50pm local time in the Papkura Channel in Manukau Harbour.

He alerted the emergency services.

The Coastguard deployed four rescue boats from Papakura, Waiuku and Titirangi to search for the pair.

The girl was found hours later at 7.22pm.

The authorities say that it is still not clear if the father and daughter were wearing life jackets, and the Auckland Police are “still working to establish the facts”.

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A spokesman for the Coastguard, Georgie Smith, explained to the New Zealand Herald how the rescuers located the girl.

“Coastguard volunteers on Papakura Rescue One heard a voice and quickly located the 8-year-old girl, who was believed to have been separated from her father for over an hour at that stage,” she said.

“She was recovered from the water by Coastguard volunteers, cold, exhausted, slightly confused but otherwise unharmed,” added Smith.

The eight-year-old was found around 3km from where the aluminium boat was found.

Conditions at the time were described as slightly choppy, with a 15-knot breeze at Manukau Harbour

The girl was taken to Middlemore Hospital and has since been released into the care of her family.

Specialist child interviewers will also be speaking to the eight-year-old.

Meanwhile, the search continues for her father.