Po­lice praise vol­un­teers for search ef­forts

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTERS

Hawke’s Bay Po­lice search and rescue co­or­di­na­tors have thanked the many vol­un­teers in­volved in search and rescue in Hawke’s Bay re­cently.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Martin James paid spe­cial thanks to the Surf Hawke’s Bay call-out squad and Waimarama Surf Club, the Lowe Cor­po­ra­tion rescue he­li­copter crew, Land SAR Hawke’s Bay and Hawke’s Bay Vol­un­teer Coast­guard af­ter a busy start to the year with three drown­ings in one week.

The call-out squad, Coast­guard and the rescue he­li­copter re­sponded to the ini­tial call about Amy Brown, the 37-year-old mother who drowned in the Tuk­i­tuki River mouth.

Surf Hawke’s Bay Rescue re­turned the fol­low­ing day for an es­tu­ary search and re­cov­ered her body.

The sec­ond in­ci­dent in­volved miss­ing French tourist Pierre Paludet, last seen at Hau­moana on Jan­uary 12. The rescue he­li­copter and Coast­guard were ac­ti­vated to carry out searches of the area where he went miss­ing.

The same evening, Waimarama Surf club were in­volved in a rescue where a man and woman got into dif­fi­culty in the wa­ter.

The man, Hemin Lim­bachiya, drowned in the in­ci­dent af­ter the nor­mal beach pa­trol had stopped for the day, but his wife, Tanvi Bhavsar, sur­vived.

Mem­bers of the Waimarama Surf Club re­sponded to the vol­un­teer fire siren and fol­lowed the ve­hi­cle to the Surf Club be­fore as­sist­ing in re­triev­ing Lim­bachiya, 26, and his wife. Without their ef­forts it could have eas­ily have been a dou­ble fa­tal­ity due to the con­di­tions.

Hawke’s Bay Land SAR and Surf Life­sav­ing were called on again in an ex­ten­sive search of the es­tu­ary and river­bank area for the Paludet.

The miss­ing man’s body was found ashore on Awa­toto Beach sev­eral days later by mem­bers of the pub­lic.

Over the seven day pe­riod, mem­bers of the vol­un­teer search and rescue ser­vices in Hawke’s Bay spent more than 300 hours on the search and re­cov­ery ef­forts.

‘‘Th­ese vol­un­teer mem­bers are of­ten of a young age and ex­posed to the grim re­al­ity of search and rescue and body re­cov­ery work,’’ James said.

‘‘Without th­ese vol­un­teers giv­ing up their work time, much of it un­paid or an­nual leave, po­lice would not be able to op­er­ate in the search and rescue area as they cur­rently do.

‘‘It is with ex­treme grat­i­tude and thanks from po­lice and the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies in the as­sis­tance of re­cov­er­ing their loved ones, to all in­volved,’’ he said.

James said po­lice would also like to ac­knowl­edge Tony Young, a stal­wart of Marine Search and Rescue for the Hawke’s Bay area, who died re­cently. Young was the long­est ac­tive serv­ing mem­ber of the Hawke’s Bay Vol­un­teer Coast­guard, with 35 years with the unit.

‘‘It was his driv­ing force and ded­i­ca­tion to the marine en­vi­ron­ment that built the Coast­guard Ed­u­ca­tion and Rescue build­ing on Meea­nee Quay,’’ James said.

He said Young’s skills and knowl­edge would be sorely missed.

Pierre An­toine Paludet, left, and, right, Hemin Lim­bachiya and his wife Tanvi Bhavsar.

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