Drowning at Waimarama Beach, Hawke's Bay




At around 6.50 pm on Sunday evening a group were swimming at Waimarama Beach in front of the surf club.

They were around chest-deep in the water when a male and a female started to be swept out to sea.

A third member of the party was unable to assist.

Nearby residents saw the group in difficulty, raised the alarm, and entered the water to help, with a surfboard from the nearby surf club.

A number of local Waimarama Surf Club volunteers responded, along with the local volunteer fire crew.

A small group of surf club members went into the water to assist the members of the public, and the original pair.

The male was not breathing, and CPR was commenced on-shore by surf lifesavers.

The female was conscious but also in difficulty and the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter and two ambulances were sent to the scene.

The male was pronounced dead at the scene a short while later, and the female was flown to hospital.

A second male, a member of the public who’d gone in to help, was also treated by ambulance staff.

Local senior Waimarama surf lifesaver Phil Harmon described the conditions as rough, although there was not a big sea.

There had been two rescues and 36 assists on the beach that day.

There had been what he called a number of “flash rips” which came up during the day, depending on the tides catching people out.

He emphasised the ‘swim safe’ message around swimming in patrolled areas and at patrolled time.

He also urged people to know their ability and limitations in the water.

Police wish to acknowledge the quick actions by the members of public who went into the water to assist initially and raise the alarm.

Without this, Police believe that there would have been more deaths.

Police also wish to thank the members of the Waimarama Surf club who were also involved in this rescue.

For some club members, it is the second fatal drowning they have assisted with in the past week.


Report Attributable to Detective Mike Signal, Hawke’s Bay Police: