Drowned man's body found in lake, mother in hospital

The mother of a man who drowned in Lake Pupuke on Auckland's North Shore has been taken to hospital suffering from shock.

The body of 20-year-old Tevaka Papa, who was known as David, was found this morning shortly after the Wellington-based police dive team began its search.

The Mt Albert man was found in the water about 50 metres off shore and eight metres below the surface.

Family members say Mr Papa was fit and strong, but got into difficulties while swimming in the lake on New Year's Day.

A younger brother and a friend who were with him tried to rescue him, but he went under the water and disappeared. The lake is murky and contains thick vegetation.

About 50 members of the man's extended Pacific Island family and his church group were at Lake Pupuke, in the North Shore suburb of Takapuna, when the body was located.

The man is the eighth drowning victim in New Zealand since Christmas Day.

The police dive team from Wellington found the body just after 10am in a stretch of water near where the man went missing, police spokesman Kevin Loughlin said.

After a reconnaissance, the divers' main search took about 15 minutes.

Mr Loughlin said a post-mortem examination would be carried out and the man's family and relatives were receiving victim support.

Mr Papa, who was at the lake with his church group, had decided about 9pm to swim to a buoy 200m offshore with his 15-year-old brother and another male, aged 24.

He was swimming strongly and had gone about 50m when he suddenly got into difficulties.

His two companions tried to rescue him, but could not hold him on the surface and he went under the water and disappeared.

Mr Loughlin said conditions at the time were reported to be choppy, with a 15-knot wind and a one-metre swell.

Family members described the man as being fit and an excellent swimmer.

Lake Pupuke is a popular boating venue and is used by a number of water sport organisations.

The last drowning there was three years and also involved a male on New Year's Day.

- NEWSTALK ZB,NZPA

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