Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Death prompts safety reminder

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The death of a man on the Kaituna River has prompted a reminder for swimmers to remember basic safety rules around the water.

Detective Sergeant John Wilson, who leads the Rotorua police's Search and Rescue squad, said Monday's tragedy could have been avoided if the Indian man and the two others who needed rescuing from the river had taken some simple precautions.

"The death on the Kaituna River is a reminder that although the busiest part of summer is over and people have gone back to work and are no longer in holiday mode, it is no time to let your guard down.

"As long as the water is warm and people are using the rivers and lakes there is still a risk."

He pleaded with anyone who didn't have confidence in the water to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Detective Sergeant John Wilson.
Detective Sergeant John Wilson.

"We urge people to take care and look after your mates. In Monday's incident it was only through the timely intervention from some good Samaritans that two further lives were not lost."

Read more:
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He said if the two couples (see page 3) had not been in the area, the outcome would have been very different.

Following an initial investigation, Mr Wilson said it appeared none of three men had any swimming ability yet all three men had jumped in the river.

The 23-year-old man who was resuscitated by the Aucklanders was still in Rotorua Hospital in a stable condition. It was expected he would be released today.

Mr Wilson said the dead 22-year-old's name would be released once his family in India had been contacted.

His death would be referred to the coroner.

Water safety rules:

1. Be prepared. Learn to swim to survive.

2. Watch out for yourself and others. Always watch
children and swim with others or in lifeguard zones.

3. Be aware of the dangers. Enter feet first and obey
all safety signs and warnings. Do not drink alcohol
and swim.

4. Know your limits. Learn safe ways of rescuing
others without putting yourself in danger.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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