A 9-year-old from Fiji - believed to be in New Zealand for
the Parachute music festival - was fighting for her life last
night after nearly drowning in a motel pool.
The young girl was in a critical condition in the intensive
care unit of Waikato Hospital.
Senior Sergeant Stephen Ambler said police were called to the
Ulster St motel about 4pm yesterday. "I understand she got
into difficulties while swimming alone," Ambler said.
"She was revived by ambulance officers at the scene. They
worked on her for 20-30 minutes before locating a pulse.
"I believe she may have been part of a church group who were
here to attend the Parachute festival."
Classic Motel neighbour Lance Duncan said he heard cries for
help just before 4pm. "I heard a whole lot of screaming, but
there wasn't much I could do. The ambulance came not long
Meanwhile, a critically injured baby girl was taken to
hospital by rescue helicopter after a Bay of Plenty road
accident which also critically injured a 2-year-old girl.
The girls were travelling with a 70-year-old man, a
64-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy when their vehicle
left State Highway 2 near Opotiki bridge and crashed into a
The adults, who were returning from a tangi, were transferred
from Whakatane to Waikato Hospital last night.
The boy was treated at Whakatane Hospital and discharged.
Both girls were flown to Waikato Hospital. A hospital
spokeswoman said they were still being assessed in the
emergency department when the Herald on Sunday went to press.
A rescue services member said the driver of the crashed
vehicle might have suffered a seizure and collapsed at the
wheel. The police serious crash unit is investigating.
Also last night, a Westpac rescue helicopter was called in
after a boat with eight people on board broke down southeast
of Little Barrier Island.
Crewman Mark Cannell said the helicopter located the vessel
and directed a private boat to the scene, which helped until
the Coastguard took the vessel under tow.
- Ciaran Warner and Cherie Howie of the Herald on