Harbour ferry to the rescue

Two swimmers were rescued from strong tidal currents near the Rawene pontoons by the crew of the harbour ferry Kohu Ra Tuarua on Tuesday.

Dirk Annemans and a second deckhand used a boarding ladder and lifebuoy to rescue two young local people who had apparently sought refuge from the heat of the day by jumping into the water from the pontoon.

As ferry captain Alan Barratt was preparing to disembark the vehicle ramp docking area, a passenger, Frank Herbert, and the second deckhand noticed that one of the pair, a young man in his late teens, seemed to be struggling.

"He was really exhausted," Mr Annemans said. "The other swimmer, a young woman, was trying to swim against the current and appeared to be going into a panic."

The captain carefully maneuvered the ferry alongside the pair, allowing his crew to deploy their rescue equipment, as passengers looked on. Both swimmers were hauled on deck and the ferry returned to the boat ramp to let them ashore.

"It was the second rescue in three days," Mr Annemans added.

"The other day we rescued a sailor in a Sunburst that had been blown over in the wind. We used the rescue buoy that time too, along with one of the inflatables from the Rawene Sailing Club."

Prior to that his most recent rescue dated back 30 years, when he went to the assistance of a hapless individual, somewhat the worse for alcohol consumption, who had got out of his taxi and stepped between the wharf and the gangway, falling into the harbour.

"I pulled him out using the same technique, but he got a bit of a scraped face," he said.

- Northland Age

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