A 9-year-old boy has been hospitalised after an incident at an inflatable obstacle course on Tauranga's waterfront on Sunday afternoon.

The boy, who was wearing a lifejacket, fell off a Waterworld obstacle and into the water.

It's believed he was sucked under an inflatable in a strong current before surfacing and being rescued by a lifeguard. It is unclear how long he was underwater.

He spent the night in Tauranga Hospital.


Witness Dean Lumsden believed the park should never have been opened in Sunday's strong current, but park owner Kelvin Travers said staff warned swimmers about the current and followed safety procedures.

Nevertheless, they would be reviewing what happened and looking at what could have been done differently, Travers said.

Lumsden said he and his son, 5, were booked on the course but after swimming to it decided to give it a miss due to the strong current.

They were watching from land when Lumsden heard the boy's mother screaming for help.

Lumsden was horrified to see the park reopen 10 minutes after the rescue and had complained to Worksafe, which confirmed yesterday it was investigating the incident.

Travers said his staff reported that a lifeguard, with the help of another person nearby, had the boy out of the water "seconds" after he fell in.

He was put in the recovery position and he spat out water. His parents opted to take him to hospital themselves rather than call paramedics.

Travers said if the boy had slipped under the inflatable, it was the first such incident at the park, which had been open five weeks and seen 30,000 visitors through with just three serious incidents - a dislocated shoulder, a torn groin and this.

He had filed reports with the Harbourmaster and Worksafe.