A detective and good mate
The Australian man who died in a rafting incident near Queenstown was a detective senior constable with the New South Wales police force.
Joshua Paroci, 31, was one of a group of six Australians rafting on Saturday afternoon with Challenge Rafting on the Shotover River when they overturned near the Toilet Rapids.
Company spokeswoman Tsehai Tiffin said Paroci was being brought back from the far side of the river when he lost his grip on the rescue rope and was swept to the next rapid.
He was helped by a safety kayaker through another rapid and then to shore, but lost consciousness and could not be revived.
NSW police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Paroci would be missed.
‘‘The hardest part of my job is when we lose one of our own and my thoughts are with Detective S/C Paroci’s wife, who is also a police officer, family, friends and colleagues,’’ he said in a statement.
‘‘Detective S/C Paroci was well respected by all those who knew him, and the police family will rally around his loved ones during this difficult time.’’
It was the second death on the same section of the river within two months after guide Keith Haare, 62, also known as Chief, died from a medical event in late March.
It was not unusual for rafts to overturn on grade four or five rivers, like the Shotover, Tiffin said.
Another member of the same group was injured and was flown to Lakes District Hospital for treatment. The rest of the group were flown out by helicopter and all flew back to Australia on Monday morning.
Challenge Rafting worked closely with Queenstown Rafting, whose general manager, Luke Taylor, said he and his staff were devastated.
‘‘Our hearts go out to our guests and the families of those involved in this,’’ he said.
Queenstown Rafting and Challenge Rafting have voluntarily suspended operations on the river until further notice.
NSW child abuse and sex crimes squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, described Paroci as a great man and an excellent detective, who would be sorely missed by the team.
‘‘Professionally, Josh was a tireless worker; dedicated to investigating some of the most heinous crimes against children,’’ he said.
‘‘His passion was justice for victims. Not only was he a police officer, he was completing a law degree, which he intended to use to create better outcomes for young victims.
‘‘Josh was inspirational, and everywhere he worked, he turned colleagues into mates; today, we mourn the loss of our good mate.’’