Surf Lifeguards in two Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRB) this morning joined Police and Land Search and Rescue in the on-going search for two missing men after three men were swept out to sea while net fishing yesterday afternoon at the mouth of the Waikato River.
Surf Lifeguards from two Surf Life Saving Clubs, Kariaotahi and Sunset Beach responded at the time of the incident yesterday afternoon. They recovered the body of one of the three men and transported him to shore where waiting lifeguards with first aid equipment performed CPR on the beach until emergency services arrived and pronounced him dead.
Contrary to earlier reports, the children of the deceased man had been taken to Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club and were being cared for by lifeguards when their father’s body was located and brought to shore. The children were wet and cold and were treated for mild hypothermia.
Labour Weekend was a tragic start to the season for Surf Lifeguards. Andy Kent, National Lifesaving Manager for Surf Life Saving New Zealand, said, “It has been a very sad first weekend of patrols for lifeguards who did an outstanding job handling a very difficult situation and dangerous conditions.
“Every summer we see consistencies in drowning incidents where people are wearing inappropriate clothing without safety equipment such as life jackets. Many are unaware of hazardous surf conditions and rips.
“People should check out weather and tide conditions before heading to their destinations and be prepared for the conditions. At Surf Life Saving New Zealand we are constantly working towards reducing the drowning toll and ask people to take responsibility for their own safety when around water - whether it’s a river mouth, tidal estuary or a beach.”
Basic Beach Safety Rules from the NZ Water Safety Code
Learn to swim and survive and set rules for safe play in the water. Always use safe and correct equipment and know the weather and water conditions before you get in.
Be aware of the dangers
Enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags. Do not enter the water after drinking alcohol.
Watch out for yourself and others
Always pay close attention to children you are supervising, in or near water. Swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present.
Know your limits
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.