Lucky es­cape from swollen river

Nelson Mail - - NEWS -

A teenager thought she was go­ing to die af­ter be­com­ing caught un­der wil­lows in the swollen Motueka River, po­lice said.

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Dave Colville said five teenagers had gone out in the river on Mon­day af­ter­noon, some in a small in­flat­able boat and the oth­ers in tyre tubes.

He said the river had been in flood af­ter Sun­day night’s down­pour and was flow­ing at about 50 cumecs, which was ‘‘rea­son­ably swift’’.

At some stage, the group lost sight of one of their friends on a tube and Colville said they started to panic. They got out of the river and went to a nearby house to call po­lice.

Colville said the miss­ing teenager, in a tube, had been caught un­der the wil­lows at the river’s edge and the force of the cur­rent kept bob­bing her un­der the wa­ter.

‘‘She thought she was go­ing to die so in the end she fell off the tube and was able to pull her­self up out of the wa­ter by the wil­lows.’’ along scrub and farm­land un­til she came across po­lice. Colville said the girl’s friends were ‘‘quite re­lieved’’ when she came out of the bush.

Nel­son Marl­bor­ough Res­cue He­li­copter pi­lot Tim Dou­glasClif­ford said the he­li­copter was called around 5.30pm on Mon­day.

The he­li­copter searched the area for 30 min­utes be­fore it be­came clear she was out of the river.

‘‘It was pretty swift, she was very lucky.’’

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