Hunua Falls safety review after death

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

Safety is being reviewed at Hunua Falls following the death of a tourist at the Auckland beauty spot yesterday.

The 20-year-old Indian national lost his footing and fell into deep water while attempting to cross the front of the falls.

He was unconscious when pulled from the water, could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hunua Ranges Regional Park senior ranger Wayne Carlson said staff believed the man was away from the base of the falls. Unconfirmed reports suggested he could not swim.

The man was at least the 16th person killed at the falls, south-east of Auckland, although most people died jumping from the top.

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

The park is managed by Auckland Council which has worked hard on safety at the site, Mr Carlson said.

Before Mr Carter's death, various tracks to the top of the falls were improved or closed, extra signs installed and fencing improved.

Since then signs at the bottom of the falls had been enlarged in collaboration with Water Safety NZ.

The council website advises that waterfall pool is considered unsafe, and filled with cold, deep water.

Following yesterday's death, Mr Carlson had spoken to Water Safety NZ about a further review however it would be difficult to fence the pool and that would affect the scenic appeal.

``It's quite a difficult area to manage,'' Mr Carlson said. ``We get large visitor numbers there throughout the year - it's one of our most visited locations - but we'll be looking at that as part of the review.''

The tourist who died yesterday had travelled to New Zealand by himself, police said. He was at the falls with friends from New Zealand who were not family members.

- APNZ

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