Child drowns in Northland, person dies at Waiwera Beach, Waikato river swimmer dies

A child has drowned at Northland’s Kai Iwi Lakes and two other people lost their lives in three separate incidents on the water today.

Police say they received a report of a possible drowning shortly after 2:10pm.

A rescue helicopter was dispatched and a child was located unresponsive.

“Despite the best efforts of members of the public and then paramedics performing CPR, the child has sadly died” a police spokesman said.

The death will be referred to the Coroner.

Less than half-an-hour prior, a man died while swimming in the Waingaro River, west of Ngāruawāhia.

Emergency services received reports that a swimmer in the river had gone missing just before 1.45pm.

Fire and Emergency had dispatched a jetski to search the river and St John was also in attendance.

The man was located, and attempts were made to resuscitate him.

The 28-year-old sadly died at the scene, police said.

“Police extends its condolences to the man’s family and loved ones.

“Police are making inquiries in relation to the death on behalf of the coroner, who will release their findings in due course.”

In a separate incident today, a person died in what the Herald understands to be a scuba diving accident at Waiwera Beach.

A police spokesman said emergency services are in attendance at an incident at Wenderholm Regional Park.

“At around 1.30pm a person was reported to be unresponsive after getting into difficulty in the water,” he said.

“CPR has been provided at the scene but unfortunately the person has died.”

The death will be referred to the Coroner.

Meanwhile, one person was taken to Tauranga Hospital in a critical condition following a water-related incident in Mount Maunganui today.

Emergency services were called to the incident around 3.30pm.
Two St John vehicles attended and treated one patient at the scene before transporting them to Tauranga Hospital.

The total number of people to drown this summer is now 25,with another two months to go before the end of the summer reporting period.Water Safety New Zealand said it’s been our worst summer so far since 2015.

Last summer, 25 drownings were recorded across the whole three-month period, which is also the average over the past five summers.

Twenty people drowned in the month of December 2021, more than double the figure for the previous December, when there were nine.

Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Daniel Gerrard said the uptick in fatalities was “unprecedented”.

“We have to start making some of these calls … this is the worst we’ve had the last six years,” he said.

“We’re up [past] 22 and we’ve still got two months to go … last year was 25 total so there’s absolute alarm bells.”

Gerrard said a common theme in drownings was people underestimating the conditions and overestimating their ability, but wondered if lockdown restrictions last year had accentuated this further.

The month-long lockdowns for Auckland, Northland and Waikato may have encouraged people to try things they hadn’t done before, overestimate their fitness or delay the servicing of equipment.

“I do think the bulk of us being locked down for such a period of time, maybe our fitness isn’t what it had been.

“In line with that it could also be dive equipment, or your motor in your boat … and you’re out somewhere and potentially your equipment fails.”

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