The death of a talented Australian tennis coach, who
disappeared in Hamilton in early December and was later found
drowned in the Waikato River, was accidental, a coroner has
Paul Arber was in Hamilton on December 7 with students for a
series of tennis tournaments when he wandered away from the
group while they went in search of dinner.
His disappearance sparked a five-day man hunt including a
desperate plea for help from Mr Arber's Melbourne-based
parents who flew to Hamilton to find the 38-year-old.
Coroner Wallace Bain said it appeared Mr Arber's drowning was
a "tragic accidental death".
Toxicology reports showed Mr Arber did not have drugs or
alcohol in his system but witnesses who encountered over the
course of eight hours reported unusual behaviour.
That included telling people he "loved" them, that he wanted
to "be one with nature".
He was spotted kneeling in the Waikato River about 4am on
December 8 by a couple who told him the river was dangerous
and he should get out.
They tried to help him find his accommodation and encouraged
him onto the bridge before he returned to the water saying he
wanted to be "cleansed".
His body was found on December 12 by a group of teenage
rowers from Hamilton Girls' High School.
- Natalie Akoorie of the New Zealand Herald