A young boy saved from drowning has been reunited with his rescuer - with a high five and a big bunch of flowers.

Charlie Withington, who turns four next month, veered off the Waikareao Estuary walkway into the water on Saturday when he was biking with his mother.

Jade Hurford, who was walking along the path with her son, snapped into action and dived into the cold water, fighting the strong currents to get the boy safely back to the bank.

Read more: Rescuer trying to track down young boy pulled from water


Yesterday, Miss Hurford and Charlie, with his mum and dad, met up after tracking each other down through Facebook.

Hugs were passed all around and Charlie gave Miss Hurford a big bouquet of flowers and a card, with his own illustrations.

Charlie's mother Amanda Arlidge said she wanted to give a big thank you to Miss Hurford and the other four ladies that helped pull a sopping wet Charlie out of the water.

One of the women even went back for his bike, which was fully submerged in the water.

Charlie Withington, 3, thank you card for Jade Hurford. Photo/John Borren
Charlie Withington, 3, thank you card for Jade Hurford. Photo/John Borren

"I wouldn't have been able to get him out [if they had not been there to help]."

She said she could barely remember what happened.

Ms Arlidge was up on the bridge, following behind Charlie, when he picked up speed coming down the hill and veered off into the water.

"I heard him yell out to me when he started to go and I started running.

"I've never run so fast in my life," Ms Arlidge said.

Charlie had been taking swimming lessons and tread water to keep himself afloat, but his heavy winter clothes had been pulling him under.

"He was fine after, he didn't swallow any water. Once he got dried off and warm he asked to go to the skate park," she said.

Charlie was a competent biker, he loved to bike and had some experience on a BMX track.
Miss Hurford said she had just wanted to find Charlie and his mum to give them a big hug and see that they were alright.

She said that spot on the track where Charlie fell in was slippery, narrow and even adults had a hard time manoeuvring on it on bikes.

"A railing right there would be quite good. The water gets so deep right there and the gravel and grass get slippery.

"It's not wide enough and it feels unsafe," Miss Hurford said.