Four men who got into difficulties swimming and five
teenagers who went to their aid were taken to hospital after
a beach rescue drama at Northland's Matauri Bay yesterday.
The men, believed to be foreign tourists aged 19-25, got into
strife in the surf in front of the Matauri Bay Holiday Park
The Kaeo Volunteer Fire Brigade was called to what was termed
a "near drowning", and the summons was also answered by the
Northland Electricity rescue helicopter and St John
ambulances from Doubtless Bay and Kerikeri.
Kaeo chief fire officer Lindsay Murray said it took
firefighters only 20 minutes to get to Matauri Bay.
"But when we got there the ambos were there and the four
people who were the main victims were sitting in an ambulance
with thermal blankets around them," he said.
A Kaeo firefighter who is also a member of St John,
17-year-old Nadia Martin, spoke to ambulance personnel and
others at the scene.
"From what I gather two girls aged about 14 noticed the men
were in trouble and went in to help them," she said.
The girls, understood to be southerners on holiday in
Northland, had got hold of one man each and shouted for help.
Three boys aged 17 or 18 had gone out with a surfboard, which
was used to get all nine people back to shore.
Ms Martin said the rescue helicopter had flown three of the
men to Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa to have their
The fourth man and the three boys followed in the Doubtless
Bay ambulance and the two girls were taken to the hospital in
the Kerikeri ambulance.
Northland District Health Board staff said all were treated
- Mike Barrington of The Northern Advocate