Tourist drowns at Hunua Falls

By Heather McCracken

Hunua Falls. Photo / File / ARC SUN
Hunua Falls. Photo / File / ARC SUN

A 20-year-old tourist has drowned at an Auckland beauty spot.

The Indian national was attempting to cross the front of the Hunua Falls, south-east of Auckland, with two children when he lost his footing and fell into deep water about 2pm yesterday.

He could not be retrieved immediately and was unconscious when he was pulled from the water.

CPR was attempted by a passing nurse, then attending paramedics, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were no reports of other injuries.

Police said the man was a visitor to New Zealand who travelled here by himself. He was at the falls with friends from New Zealand who were not family members.

His family in India are yet to be contacted.

The falls are in the Auckland Council-managed Hunua Ranges Regional Park.

A council spokeswoman said last night that there were "large and prominent signs visible on both sides of the walking tracks down to the falls".

She said the signs, based on Water Safety New Zealand guidelines, aimed to warn visitors of the multiple dangers at the site, including deep water.

"The signs also inform visitors that there is no lifesaving service in the vicinity. They are designed to warn people of the dangers of the area, which are similar to those of surf beaches. We encourage visitors to stick to the walking tracks and to be wary of the risks of going into the water."

The man is at least the 16th person killed at the falls, although most people die jumping from the top.

The last reported death was 46-year-old father of two Craig Carter, who died after jumping while picnicking with his family in 2009.

At the time of Mr Carter's death, ranger Tony Oliver said officials knew of 15 deaths, despite the warning signs.

"There have been other people seriously injured, including suffering paralysis, and possibly others who have walked away with minor injuries we are not aware of," he said.

- APNZ

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