The helicopter company involved in the rescue at the Blue Pools near Makarora on Sunday is offering a free helicopter ride to the unidentified 8-year-old boy who offered to perform CPR on the rescued man.

Heliworks Queenstown Helicopters general manager Richard Mills said his wife had a tear in her eye and he felt quite emotional when he heard about a young boy who had done a CPR course at school and had taken his first-aid pack to the Blue Pools track to help.

The boy is the latest to be commended for their efforts in the rescue of a 24-year-old Australian tourist, believed to be named Zac, who was swimming with friends from Sydney at the tourist hot spot when he disappeared.

Makarora fire chief Heather Pennycook, who attended the rescue, said several families were there at the time and everyone helped, in particular a Dunedin surf lifesaver from the St Clair Surf Lifesaving Club, who initially jumped in to try to save the man, but was unable to pull him out when his body became wedged under a rock.


She was reported to have stayed with the man until his friends and others at the pool pulled him out.

The woman has declined to speak to media.

Another man present performed CPR.

He told her he had never done it to save someone's life before and was worried about breaking the man's ribs, Ms Pennycook said.

She also paid tribute to another man who ran the 1.5km from the track to the road and had to drive 10km to Makarora to raise the alarm due to a lack of cellphone coverage from Hawea dam to Fox Glacier.

The incident on Sunday is thought to be the first near drowning at the Blue Pools in living memory.

The Australian tourist is believed to have suffered a severe reaction to the freezing water temperature.

He was flown to Dunedin Hospital with from hypothermia and breathing difficulties but is in a stable condition.