A man fighting for his life after he was rescued from Wellington Harbour has been identified by a Kiwi in Sri Lanka who saw the man's photo on New Zealand news websites.
The man was rescued from the water at Burdan's Gate, Eastbourne, about 10.30pm on Monday by a 16-year-old girl and two young men.
Police said the man was identified as an Indian national in his 20s who was studying in New Zealand.
The man remained in a critical condition in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit this evening.
Detective Sergeant Grant Carroll said the "breakthrough" came after a New Zealand man recognised the man's photo on New Zealand news websites while attending a conference in Sri Lanka.
He then contacted police and officers were able to establish the man's identity and confirm it through the official channels, Mr Carroll said.
Police were in the process of making contact with the man's family overseas, with help from an interpreter.
The man would not be named until his family had been notified, Mr Carroll said.
Police thanked the public and the media for their help in identifying the man.
"Again, we thank the community and the news media who have provided the key in unlocking the mystery to this man's identity, so we can now talk with his family and provide support for them as they come to terms with what has happened."
Yesterday, two teenage girls spoke of how they helped rescue the man from the water.
Cousins Kelly McKay 15, and Payge Olds, 16, were with a groups of friends when they were alerted to the drowning man, by a young man on the beach who was not a confident swimmer.
Payge said although she no longer took swimming lessons, she soon realised if she did not help, the man would not survive.
"No one else was jumping in so I just thought, you know what, I am just going to step up and do it because we just need to help this guy before it's too late," she said.
Payge swam between 70-80m out to the drowning man, guided by two men on the shore who were shining lights on the water.
When she reached the man he was completely submerged.
"I just turned him over so his head was out of the water and then tried my best to get him back to shore," she said. "He was so much bigger than me it was really hard to lift him."
Payge said she began to panic, so she called out to shore and two men, aged 25 and 19, swam out to help her.
"They helped me bring him back. I was just freaking out that I wasn't going to be able to get him over, I was screaming and yelling and almost in tears."
When the man was eventually pulled to shore, Kelly performed CPR before emergency services arrived.
Both girls have maintained that there was nothing heroic about their efforts.
"We are just average girls - we are just doing what we can to help the world be a better place," Payge said.
"If we were in danger I am pretty sure [the man] would have done the same thing. If anyone is in danger they would do the same thing," Kelly said.