Swimmers urged to 'know your limits'

  • 09/02/2016
Swimmers urged to 'know your limits'

The name of the teen who drowned in Raglan over the weekend has been released.

Raglan Area School student Richard Keremeta, 16, died after jumping off the Te Kopua footbridge.

Earlier, friends of a 16-year-old who died after a bridge-jumping accident in Raglan are describing his death as "shocking".

Harata Maeiapoto-Clancy, 14, says she and her friends had a strong "bond" with the teen, who "will definitely be missed".

"We just want to give our love out to the whanau, because it's still a big shock," says Harata.

Local kaumatua Sean Ellinson says the death has hit the close-knit Raglan community hard.

"He was brought up here so all the kids know him and they're in shock at the moment," says Mr Ellinson.

"We're just trying to pull everybody together so we can support the family and farewell this young fella in an appropriate manner then we can work through other issues that might come up with the young ones."

Mr Ellinson says the teen was a "very nice boy, a humble boy, good-looking boy, one of our own. He was brought up by his grandparents here, went to school here, got involved with the local clubs."

It was a tragic day in New Zealand waters yesterday, with lifeguards urging swimmers to take more care in the water.

Apart from the death in Raglan, one person was found dead at Okere Falls and two teenagers needed to be  rescued at Auckland's Muriwai Beach, with one of them almost drowning.

Patrol captain Tim Jago says the Muriwai incident was an accident waiting to happen and swimmers need to show more awareness.

"They weren't prepared, they didn't have fins, they didn't have leashes connected to their boards, they've been dragged out the back of the flagged area. We were actually watching them all the time, hence we were very quick to pull them in," says Mr Jago.

"It's know your limits and be prepared with all the appropriate equipment and if in doubt stay out and speak to a lifeguard  it's those perennial messages that we promote year after year."

Surf Live Saving Northern Region's chief executive Matt Williams agrees that swimmers need to take more responsibility for their safety in the water.

"I think it's attitudes, it's how we're addressing this risk," he told the Paul Henry programme this morning. "We know whether it's a river, a lake, an estuary, there's risk associated with it and it's what we're doing when we get there, how we are accounting for that risk, are we even identifying it? Then, are we taking the necessary steps to prevent it?

"These are very simple things, there's nothing profound there: swim at a patrolled beach first of all, if you've got kids keep them at arm's reach, never swim alone and make sure you're actually looking at what you're swimming in to. Stop and think before you dive in."

The man involved in the Muriwai incident remains in a critical condition.