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Man drowns at Waimarama, swept out to sea while swimming

News from NZ Police
A man and a woman were swept out to sea while swimming in front of the surf club at Waimarama Beach at 6.50 pm last night.

They were in a group that was chest-deep in the water when they started to be swept out. A third member of the party was unable to assist.

Nearby residents saw the group in difficulty, raised the alarm, and entered the water to help, with a surfboard from the surf club. A number of Surf Club volunteers responded, with the local volunteer fire crew. A small group of surf club members went into the water to assist the members of the public, and the original pair.

The man was not breathing, and CPR was commenced on-shore by the lifesavers. The woman was conscious but also in difficulty and the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter and two ambulances were sent to the beach.

The man was pronounced dead a short while later. He was 26-year-old Hemin Vinubhai Limbachiya of Napier.

The woman was flown to hospital. A second man, a member of the public who’d gone in to help, was also treated by ambulance staff.

Senior Waimarama surf lifesaver Phil Harmon described the conditions as rough, although there was not a big sea. There had been two rescues and 36 assists on the beach that day. There had been what he called a number of “flash rips” which came up during the day, depending on the tides, catching people out.

He emphasised the ‘swim safe’ message around swimming in patrolled areas and at patrolled time. He also urged people to know their ability and limitations in the water.

Police acknowledge the quick actions by the members of public who went into the water to assist initially and raise the alarm. Without this, Police believe that there would have been more deaths.

Police also thank the members of the Waimarama Surf club who were involved in this rescue. For some club members, it is the second fatal drowning they have assisted with in the past week.

The matter will be referred to the Coroner.