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Helicopter found man’s body in ‘treacherous conditons’ of Timaru coast


The beach at Seadown, north of Timaru, on the day a man died and a child was rescued.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

The beach at Seadown, north of Timaru, on the day a man died and a child was rescued.

The tragic death of a man off the coast north of Timaru on Saturday is possibly the 10th drowning victim in New Zealand since the start of the year.

The man was dead when pulled from the water in a helicopter operation after being swept out to sea from Seadown beach, near Beach Road on Saturday afternoon, while a young child was earlier rescued from the water.

A police spokesperson said emergency services were called to the beach at 4.30pm, and located a young child in the water. They brought the child to shore where they were treated by ambulance staff.

A St John spokesperson said one person was taken to Timaru hospital with moderate injuries.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter lands at Timaru Hospital after the operation off the Seadown coast.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter lands at Timaru Hospital after the operation off the Seadown coast.

Police said “due to the treacherous conditions”, a Westpac Rescue Helicopter was used to search for the man who had been swept out to sea.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot Matt Boulcott told Stuff when they arrived on the scene they located the man quickly.

“He was in the breakers, maybe 50 metres out from shore.

“A fire crew on land still had visual and they steered us in the right direction. We pretty much found him straight away.”

“We winched him onto the aircraft and landed, but he was deceased so that was pretty much all we could do.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot Matt Boulcott said the man was found quickly.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot Matt Boulcott said the man was found quickly.

“We did everything we could as quickly as we could, but unfortunately it was not a great result.”

The possible drowning would be the 10th since the start of the year, making January 2021 almost equal to January 2020’s total of 11 drowning fatalities.

Water Safety New Zealand spokesperson Ben Christie said “Every preventable drowning fatality is a tragedy for a family and a community.”

“With water there is always risk and as summer continues we would encourage everyone to remember the water safety code: Be prepared, watch out for yourself and each other. Be aware of the dangers and know your limits.”



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