Weekend Herald

Surf Life Sav­ing warn­ing af­ter beach deaths, res­cues

- Disasters · Incidents

Two deaths and sev­eral close calls on Auck­land’s no­to­ri­ous west coast beaches this week have re­sulted in life­guards is­su­ing a stern warn­ing to the pub­lic.

“Un­less you’re con­fi­dent – avoid go­ing in or near the water,” Surf Life Sav­ing north­ern re­gion chief ex­ec­u­tive Matt Wil­liams said.

A woman and a fish­er­man died in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents at Whites Beach, north of Piha, and Bethells Beach re­spec­tively at the start of the week.

Yes­ter­day, a mother and two teenagers were res­cued af­ter get­ting into trou­ble at O’Neills Bay near Bethells Beach just be­fore 1pm.

The mother was flown to Auck­land Hos­pi­tal in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion, while the teenagers were taken by am­bu­lance in a mod­er­ate con­di­tion.

On Thurs­day, Piha life­guards had to res­cue four peo­ple in trou­ble at what i s known as the Key­hole – a nat­u­ral rock for­ma­tion.

Mean­while, Muri­wai Beach life­guards were needed at the nearby gan­net colony af­ter a surfer was swept there from nearby Ma ¯ ori Bay.

Wil­liams said it had been the busiest win­ter in re­cent mem­ory.

“We’ve had 33 emer­gency call­outs for our emer­gency squads since the start of May.

“When you con­sider that in the whole of last year . . . we had just 31, that’s a mas­sive in­crease in our work­load.”

He said the spike in the num­ber of peo­ple head­ing to the beach could be put down to a new- found ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the water af­ter the Covid- 19 lock­downs, the sunny weather and the school hol­i­days.

“We’ve seen this wish to get back to the coast man­i­fest in peo­ple not tak­ing the right pre­cau­tions.

“The past week has shown just how many ways there are to get in trou­ble on the coast.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand