Surf lifeguards from Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club have been involved this morning in the recovery of a body. It is believed to be that of the man who went missing yesterday evening when he was swept out to sea while fishing with two others near the mouth of the Waikato River. The incident took place in the same spot where, on Labour Day, two men drowned and a third is still missing, presumed drowned.
Early this morning the man was found by a local fisherman and brought to the Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club where lifeguards alerted emergency services. Paramedics called to the scene confirmed him dead.
It is thought the man is one of three who were swept away while net fishing at approximately 7.30 pm yesterday. The other two men were rescued by bystanders at the time and were assisted by surf lifeguards who administered first aid. The rescued men were both wearing life jackets.
It has been a devastating start to the season for surf lifeguards who, at the time the alarm was raised yesterday evening, were already assisting police with the recovery of another body, believed to be the second man who went missing on Labour Day.
Said Jim Coe, President of Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club, “It has been a week of utter tragedy on our beach. Young volunteer lifeguards from both Kariaotahi and Sunset Beach Clubs have done an outstanding job in the search and recovery of these men.”
“This stretch of beach - that extends from the mouth of the Waikato River two kilometres north - is extremely dangerous. It is strongly recommend that people do not fish in this area. If unsure, stay clear or talk to local lifeguards. This morning the conditions at low tide were treacherous. It was like a washing machine with currents going in all directions and strong undertows. This is the reason why these people got into difficulty quickly yesterday,” said Mr Coe.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand stresses the importance of being prepared when in and around water and the importance of wearing safe and correct equipment, particularly life jackets. Andy Kent, National Lifesaving Manager, said the two men who survived yesterday’s incident were both wearing life jackets. “It goes to show just how critical it is to wear the right safety gear. Swimmers, fishermen, any one around water must be aware of the dangers. We recommend people learn to recognise rip currents and never swim or enter the water when tired or cold.”
Lifeguards will be patrolling beaches this weekend.
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.
· If in doubt - stay out
· Learn to recognise rip currents
· Never swim when tired or cold
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.
· Swim between the flags
· Have an adult supervise you
· Listen to the advice from Surf Lifeguards
· Consider other surf users
Know your limits
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.
· Never swim or surf alone