Boy drowns after fall off wharf
Youngster slips from rescuer’s hands in chilly harbour waters.
Frantic rescuers jumped into chilly Auckland Harbour seas yesterday to try to save a boy who fell into the water from a wharf.
But their brave efforts were in vain. Police said medical treatment was given immediately to the 5-year-old but he could not be revived.
Bayswater resident Bernard Riedl told the Herald on Sunday he was walking on the wharf at Torpedo Bay near Devonport when the boy fell in the water.
“I jumped in to save the boy,” he said.
“He put his hands round my neck.” The man said the boy lost his grip as he was trying to rescue him.
“After he detached I couldn’t see him,” he said.
Police said the youngster was pulled from the water by the Coastguard shortly after 3.15pm.
Two people had jumped in to try to save him. One needed medical treatment but wasn’t taken to hospital. The other did not require treatment. The matter has been referred to the Coroner.
Coastguard, police, St John and a rescue helicopter were all involved after the alarm was raised. Police later interviewed several witnesses in the naval museum at Torpedo Bay. One said it was too soon to talk about what had happened because it was “still raw”.
Defence security staff were deployed to move a small group of onlookers off the approaches to the wharf and on to King Edward Parade.
New Zealand’s water safety record for children has slipped in recent years, according to figures in the Water Safety New Zealand Drowning Prevention Report for 2016.
It shows hospitalisations from accidental immersion in water of children under 5 more than doubled last year to 42, compared with 20 in 2015.
Hospitalisations are defined in the report as non-fatal drownings resulting in a hospital stay longer than 24 hours.
Medical treatment was given to the 5-year-old but was unsuccessful.