Boy drowns af­ter fall off wharf

Young­ster slips from res­cuer’s hands in chilly har­bour waters.

Herald on Sunday - - THIS WEEK - By Si­mon Collins and Kelly Den­nett

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.

Greg Bowker

Med­i­cal treat­ment was given to the 5-year-old but was un­suc­cess­ful.

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