Shortly after 4pm today Hawke's Bay Emergency Services responded to two females who were swept out to sea at Waipatiki Beach, a holiday settlement about 40 kilometres north of Napier.
A 21 year old woman was initially caught in a rip and swept out to sea approximately 200 to 250 metres off shore. Her cousin went to her rescue and was also swept out.
A 15 year old Hawke's Bay boy visiting the beach for the day heard people yelling out that 2 ladies were drowning and swam out, locating one of the females. He initially focussed on keeping her calm, conscious and above water. They were joined by a kayaker who gave one of the females his life jacket.
A third 16 yr old girl who also went out to help, found herself in difficulty as well, and was assisted back to shore by an unidentified person.
Another unidentified male arrived on a surf board and they put a life jacket on the female while she held onto the surf board.
The 15 year old boy brought her back towards the beach, and once close, enough other people assisted in returning her to shore.
The 21 year old woman briefly lost consciousness on shore where the 15 year old rescuer's Mother, an off duty nurse, rendered initial help. Several Doctors on holiday at Waipatiki beach also assisted with medical treatment until St Johns ambulance staff arrived.
The 21 year old woman was flown to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the Lowe Walker Rescue Helicopter suffering from hypothermia and is reported to be in a stable condition.
The other rescued girl has been taken by St Johns Ambulance to Hawke's Bay Hospital.
Hawke's Bay Police understand that the 21 year old woman is from out of the region but was holidaying at the beach with family. Initial enquiries by Police indicate that the women were in the water for almost an hour.
Hawke's Bay Police are full of praise for the people who assisted in bringing the girls to shore where. Police understand that the 15 year old boy is not related to the girls at all so his efforts in swimming out to them and bringing them back to safety are admirable.
Hawke's Bay Police said this is story that could have ended tragically but some heroic efforts have prevented that from occurring.