Wharf jump nearly fatal

By -
Josiah Iraia is lucky he didnt drown after being knocked unconscious while jumping off Salisbury Wharf. Photo / Supplied
Josiah Iraia is lucky he didnt drown after being knocked unconscious while jumping off Salisbury Wharf. Photo / Supplied

A Greerton teenager doesn't remember much about the accident that almost claimed his life but he vividly recalls having an out-of-body experience as he lay unconscious in the water.

Josiah Iraia and about six of his friends were enjoying jumping off Salisbury Wharf at Mount Maunganui on Sunday, until he almost drowned about 3pm.

The 15-year-old knows it was only the quick actions of his friends and other swimmers that saved his life.

The Otumoetai College student does not remember what happened but has been told he was climbing back on to the wharf when a friend tried to jump over his head into the water.

Josiah went to stand up just as his friend jumped and he took a knee to the face, which knocked him back into the water unconscious.

Other people have told him someone then jumped off the wharf and landed on top of him.

"I can't remember much. What I do remember is looking down at myself drowning for about 20 seconds, then waking up on the wharf for about 10 seconds then blacking out again, and then being in and out of consciousness all the way to the hospital.

"Waking up in the hospital was pretty scary because I didn't know why I was there. All I knew was that I was in the hospital and I was hurt."

Josiah's top teeth had gone right through his lip, requiring three stitches, and he had scratches all over his back from people pulling him back to the safety of the wharf.

He was kept in Tauranga Hospital overnight on Sunday but discharged himself about midday on Monday.

The out-of-body experience was particularly frightening, he said.

"It's an indescribable feeling. I was looking down on myself slowly dying. I could feel myself choking but I couldn't do anything. It felt like my mind was still there but my body wasn't.

"I'm just glad that someone did save me, even though I don't know who it was. I'm just glad that they reacted quickly enough to save me."

Neale Mann was at the nearby Mount Ocean Sports Club when the drama unfolded. He believed someone had jumped into the water and landed on Josiah's head.

A couple of Josiah's friends held his head above the water until two adults jumped in and helped drag him out, he said.

Mr Mann, an ex-ambulance volunteer, called 111 and put Josiah into the recovery position until paramedics arrived.

"He was semi-conscious. He didn't know what the hell had happened. It could have been worse. He could have quite easily drowned."

For more articles from this region, go to

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 26 Oct 2014 16:48:26 Processing Time: 494ms