Off-duty Waitemāta officer, family rescue six caught in rip

Source: 1News

An off-duty Waitemāta police officer and his family have helped rescue six people after they got caught in a rip off a beach south of Piha late last month.

Youth Aid Constable Shawn Wanden, his wife Shalema and their daughter Jessica were packing up at Karekare Beach on Sunday, November 21 when Jessica spotted three people caught in a rip in the middle of the beach, police said on Facebook on Thursday.

The couple rescued the group without incident but when Shalema returned to the beach about an hour later to look for her sandals, she spotted another three people caught in the same rip.

Shalema called for assistance before swimming out to the group with rescue tubes.

After realising one of the trio was unconscious and floating with his head down, Shawn arrived in a boat to help pull the unconscious man from the water with the help of two other off-duty lifeguards.

The man had stopped breathing by the time they reached the shore. However, Jessica was ready and waiting with a defibrillator to start CPR.

They successfully revived the man, but continued to provide first aid until a St John ambulance and Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived on the scene.

While finishing up with the rescue effort, on-duty Sergeant Dean Henderson was notified of a teenager lost and in need of rescue nearby. Communication was intermittent and it was unclear where he was as contact had been lost.

Knowing the area well, the Wandens had an idea where he was likely to be, so Jessica volunteered to drive Henderson and Constable Hannah Atkinson to the area, which was in a dense marsh.

The police eagle helicopter eventually located the teenager, who was walked out before being returned home to his father.