A 9-year-old suffered minor injuries after being caught in a rip at Ngarunui Beach at Raglan yesterday.
The young girl's fate could have been worse if it were not for an eagle-eyed surfer who saw her being dragged out in the rip about 6.30pm.
After pulling her out of the water, the surfer ran up to lifeguards who had already knocked off for the day, a spokesperson at Trust Waikato Raglan Surf Lifesaving Club said.
Raglan firefighters were also called to help before the decision was made to call the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, northern fire communications shift manager Scott Osmond said.
The chopper airlifted the girl to Waikato Hospital.
A St John spokesperson said she suffered minor injuries.