Paddleboard death sparks warnings

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Amie Russell died when her paddleboard blew under a boat at Whangamata. Photo / Supplied
Amie Russell died when her paddleboard blew under a boat at Whangamata. Photo / Supplied

The death of Amie Russell while paddleboarding in Whangamata has resulted in a coroner releasing recommendations to try to prevent further tragedies.

The 15-year-old Morrinsville woman was holding on to the paddleboard of her brother, Hayden, when she lost her grip and was dragged by the current under a boat mooring in the Whangamata harbour.

Her board was swept to one side of the boat, while she was stuck under the boat on the other side, unable to free herself likely because of her leg rope becoming wrapped around the boat's keel.

By the time others managed to free her and get her to the surface she was unresponsive.

Amie Russell's family, from left brother Hayden, father Darrell, mother Catherine, and brother Liam, outside the Hamilton District Court after a coroner's inquest into her death. PHOTO/BELINDA FEEK
Amie Russell's family, from left brother Hayden, father Darrell, mother Catherine, and brother Liam, outside the Hamilton District Court after a coroner's inquest into her death. PHOTO/BELINDA FEEK

Coroner Gordon Matenga recommended stand-up paddleboard users wear an appropriate personal flotation device and use a quick-release leach when in bodies of water that have strong currents.

He also recomended Waikato Regional Council place signage around Whangamata harbour warning paddleboarders of the danger of strong currents and the need to be careful near moored boats.

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