Hawke's Bay residents have been warned of the dangers of swimming in unpredictable rivers, after a Gisborne-based rescue helicopter was called to rescue a young boy trapped by strong currents.
Eastland Community Trust Rescue Helicopter pilot Neil Dodd said a pilot and paramedic were dispatched to Hawke's Bay about 2pm on Tuesday, after reports of a 10-year-old boy stranded on the Ngaruroro River.
The boy had swum over to a rocky ledge on the other side of the river but was unable to swim back.
"We landed at the other side of the river, so the crewman swam across to the other side and put a harness on him and put a rope on him and pulled him back. It was all very safe."
Mr Dodd said the boy was unharmed and not in any distress.
"He was good as gold. His mother was there and she was pretty happy about it all."
Although the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter from Hawke's Bay was unavailable at the time, Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter general manager Ian Wilmot said the region had been well covered.
"We do tell all the neighbouring services that we will be unavailable, and we communicated that to the Gisborne rescue helicopter, the Taupo and the Palmerston North helicopters. It's quite a common thing, so we basically all back each other up.
"That's a standard arrangement for rescue helicopters, we always back each other up if somebody is out on a job or the helicopter is having compulsory maintenance checks."
A Water Safety New Zealand spokeswoman said people should take care when swimming in rivers.
"Rivers are changeable and unpredictable particularly after heavy rainfall.
"Check for hazards, upstream, downstream and where you're swimming. Rivers also contain hidden dangers such as submerged objects and snags."
People should keep looking and ask themselves questions.
"Can you see the bottom? Is it deep enough for jumping or diving? Does the riverbed drop away close to the edge? Could you handle the current if you got swept away?"
It was also important for people to establish an exit point, and consider if they would be able to get out of the river once they were in.