Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Raglan death: The 'quiet boy' killed in tragic accident

Police have confirmed that a man has come forward - and been cleared of any wrongdoing - in relation to a fatal jumping accident at Raglan yesterday.

Raglan Area School student Richard Keremeta, 16, died after jumping off the bridge and being struck by another bridge jumper about 12.20pm. He was found by rescuers about 10 minutes later.

Waikato police Sergeant John McCarthy said a man had come forward saying he had been involved in a collision with somebody yesterday after jumping off the Te Kopua footbridge at Raglan.

Police spoke to the 17-year-old about the incident and cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing, Mr McCarthy said.

The matter had now been forwarded to the Coroner.

Mr McCarthy said it was a "really sad and tragic" incident.

Police had ensured that the man had the appropriate welfare services and victim support services available to him.

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The teenager's death was one of two drowning incidents yesterday.

The shock of losing one of their mates is still setting in for some pupils of Raglan Area School who turned up to school in tears this morning.

Malcolm Cox, principal of Raglan Area School, said Richard's death had struck a chord with not only the pupils, but the staff and the whole community.

Mr Cox said it had been an emotional morning.

"Our young people have come in the gates in tears this morning, but they know to come here and we've got staff here and counsellors and so forth. I've got staff who are on leave and they've all come in to be part of supporting our kids.

"It's very personal for some of us. For some of us Richard is whanau."

Mr Cox said he remembered Richard as a quiet boy who always had a grin but also someone who loved sport and hanging out with his mates.

"He was so keen on his sport, he was into basketball and waka ama. Nothing would be better than after school to go and jump off the bridge with his mates ... our young people love to jump off the bridge. Hundreds and hundreds of people come here and so it's not just our young people there but I think everybody that comes to Raglan sees that jumping off the bridge is part of the experience of coming to Raglan."

Mr Cox said the school, including the pupils, were treating Richard's death as an accident.

"I think at the moment people are treating it as a genuine accident and it's a tragedy. It's not that these young people were doing something that was outrageous or risky, they were just being family. I've got staff that would jump off that bridge ... in terms of the bridge and what happens there, nobody looks for accidents and nobody looks for tragedy in places where people are having fun, but that can happen too."

Mr Cox said neither he nor Richard's schoolmates knew a person was being sought in relation to the incident.

"The police are very keen to make sure that that person is well supported because that's another person whose life has been pretty badly affected too. The issue really at the moment is how to care for him, rather than to look for blame."

As for what to do now, Mr Cox said the school would do what the family was comfortable with them doing.

"We are the community and so we will take the whanau lead around what they want us to do and how we support them, really. What the kura does really well is get in and be supportive of the community."

It is the second tragedy for the school in about a year after the death of Ra Ngaru Smith on Boxing Day 2014, whose memorial unveiling was soon to be announced.

- NZ Herald

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