Dangerous mud traps boy
A firefighter stripped to his underwear to rescue a 14-year-old Tokoroa boy who had sunk up to his armpits in mud at Lake Moananui on Sunday evening.
Senior fire fighter Paul Carter didn’t spare a thought for the cold when he stripped down to his underwear and T-shirt and went to the aid of Piri Tautari who had sunk into the mud at the lake at 5.21pm.
The lake has been drained for weed control, leaving fishers no choice but to traverse the wet mud to get to the water and fish in the middle. Piri sank about 15 metres from the normal lake shore during a lone fishing trip.
‘‘He had sunk as far as he could go,’’ said Mr Carter who, with other firefighters, slid a stretcher out on to the mud to the Tokoroa High School pupil. Piri grabbed the stretcher and was pulled to safety over several minutes . . . and his boots stayed on.
‘‘It was more muddy than cold,’’ Mr Carter said.
Piri, who went fishing with no cellphone, does not know who called the fire service but he said he was extremely grateful to everyone who was involved in his rescue.
‘‘It was quick,’’ Piri said. ‘‘It took about five minutes to sink and I made it worse by wriggling. I was angry with myself for getting myself stuck. It was just stupid.’’
It took about 20 minutes to get him free.
He went straight home where he threw his muddy clothes in the wash and jumped in a hot shower.
Butch Bisley, president of Tokoroa Sports Fishing Association, said Piri was lucky somebody had seen he was in distress and rung for help.
‘‘He does a lot of night fishing. He could have been stuck all night. Really, it could have been fatal,’’ he said.
Mr Bisley said he was frequently moving children as young as three on from fishing at the lake unsupervised as late as half an hour before dusk.
Parents needed to be aware of where their children were at all times, he said.
Rescued: Pipi Tautiri was grateful someone saw him.