A bystander saved a distressed woman's life after wading into the water at a West Auckland beach and holding her hand.
The man who asked not be named was taking a walk at Titirangi's French Bay about sunset on Saturday evening with his partner when a member of the public told them a woman was distressed in the sea.
The fully clothed woman, in her late 20s, was "distraught and hysterical", the man said, and heading out over the mudflats towards the Manukau Harbour channel.
He rolled up his trousers and waded into the water after her, reaching her about 50m out.
"She said she'd lost a friend one day before and she's lost her job and lost her boyfriend.
"What struck me is she said, 'Please don't abuse me'.
"I said, 'I'm just a neighbour and I'm here to help. I just kept her talking and I held her hand.
"I just talked her out of there and she turned around and came back."
The man said the woman appeared to have "switched off". They spoke for about 10 minutes before returning to the beach together.
It was nearly dark when they got back onto dry land and police arrived at the scene.
Police contacted the woman's parents who arrived and helped calm her down. They kept the woman warm and found her car keys before taking her home, the man said.
He was glad he'd been on hand to help the woman.
"It seemed like she'd had a bit of a bad run. There are people out there who are starting to crack under the new system."
A police spokeswoman confirmed police were called after receiving a report of concerns for a woman's welfare on the beach near the Parade, Titirangi, about 5.30pm on Saturday.
"A member of the public helped the woman, and police were able to ensure she got home safely."
A Mental Health Foundation spokesman told the Herald: "It's great that someone went to her aid and supported her in her time of need. That is really important to do."
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