One dead, nine rescued in hectic day for surf lifeguards

Source: 1News

One person has died and nine others have been rescued after getting swept out in rips at beaches across the upper North Island on Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency services, including a police eagle helicopter, were called to the scene at Kariaotahi Beach, on Auckland’s south-western coast after Surf Life Saving’s operations centre was notified of two people in trouble in the water around 4.45pm.

One person was located and taken safely to shore, while another was found unconscious in the water, Surf Life Saving New Zealand said in a statement. CPR was performed on the unconscious person but was unsuccessful.

Surf Life Saving was alerted soon afterwards to seven people in trouble following a rip at nearby Sunset Beach, in Port Waikato.

The Sunset Search and Rescue Squad responded to the incident, assisted by the lifeguards at Kariaotahi.

All seven people were returned to shore by the lifeguards, two of whom required first aid for minor hypothermia and exhaustion, Surf Life Saving said.

The group left the beach in a stable condition.

It was followed by the rescue of another person in trouble at Kariaotahi Beach at 6.14pm.

Fifty-three people were rescued across beaches in Northland, Auckland and the Waikato over the weekend.

Tuesday’s death is the third fatality on the northern West Coast in the past week.

One person was found unconscious in the water at Auckland’s Bethells Beach on Tuesday, November 16. CPR was performed but the person could not be revived.

A second person was found unconscious in the water by a member of the public at Northland’s Baylys Beach on Sunday, November 21.

A third person was unconscious when they were pulled from the water at Karekare Beach also on Sunday. They were revived after CPR was performed by lifeguards.

Northern Region Search and Rescue supervisor John-Michael Swannix said the Surf Life Saving community "send their condolences to the family and friends of the person who died at Kariaotahi" on Tuesday.

“This is such a tragedy. No one goes to the beach for a swim and expects something like this to happen,” Northern Region Search and Rescue supervisor John-Michael Swannix said.

Swannix said the conditions on the West Coast are “deceptively dangerous at the moment”, and beachgoers have been advised to swim at other locations.

Anyone who sees someone in trouble in the water has been advised to call the police.

“They have a direct line to activate our Search and Rescue squads which are available 24/7 to come and assist.”