A police officer set aside thoughts for his own safety when he dived into a thermal hot pool in Rotorua to rescue an alleged car thief on the run.
Two police dog handlers gave chase after the man was allegedly caught stealing cars in the central city.
Bay of Plenty police district commander Superintendent Glenn Dunbier said the police dog tracked the man to the Sulphur Flats area near the Polynesian Pools, where he was trying to hide by completely immersing himself in a hot pool.
The man realised his ruse was up and got out of the pool, and was arrested and handcuffed by the officers.
But as the man was being walked back to the police car, he took off suddenly and dived into another thermal pool.
"He came up but immediately disappeared under the water again. The officers immediately realised he was in trouble and one of the officers leapt in and dragged him to safety," Mr Dunbier said.
"He was given first aid at the scene and taken to hospital. He was in a critical condition but is improving."
Mr Dunbier said the outcome would have likely been different had the officer not jumped in straight away.
"And the officer did it without any thought to his own safety."
Mr Dunbier said both officers were fine.
The man was likely to be changed with several offences.