Police praise volunteers for search efforts
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.