Source: New Zealand Police (District News)
Please attribute to Senior Constable Barry Shepherd:
Bay of Plenty Police are issuing a safety warning after two incidents in Waikato River at Taupo, one of which has claimed the life of a young man.
An 18-year-old man – Logan Ken Hughes, of Taihape – courageously attempted to save the life of a 12-year-old girl from Waikato River on Friday 18 December, however he then himself got into trouble in the water.
Another person jumped in and helped the girl to safety. Later, in trying conditions, several rescuers worked tremendously hard to retrieve the 18-year-old from about seven metres of water.
CPR was performed for 40 minutes and medical staff did all they could to save him, but he died in hospital.
This is terrible news for the family of the young man who died. The attempted rescue was an instinctive display of humanity. We send our condolences to his relatives.
Two days earlier, on 16 December, a group of teens was swimming down from the Taupo Control Gates Bridge. The group split up, and due to confusion and miscommunication, it was thought that one of them had got into difficulty. That prompted a full-scale search involving a helicopter.
Fortunately, the person thought to be in trouble was found to have already returned home.
While unrelated, these two events underline the risk this fast-flowing river presents to the public and rescue teams who are called in to help.
These incidents also have a profound impact on the bystanders in the area, as well as the first responders who attend.
We’re not out to stop anyone from having fun, but we want people to pause and consider: if you’re getting in the water, are you confident of getting yourself out?
The last thing we want is for anyone to be in distress, or at the very worst, not survive.
It’s a beautiful river and a perfect place to cool off this summer. But please do pay attention to the dangers and the signs posted by the river. Remember that rivers can have an enormously powerful pull.
If you can stay safe, we hopefully won’t be seeing you this summer.
Issued by Police Media Centre