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A German tourist swam from Tauranga Harbour to Mount Maunganui after a night on the town and a search and rescue operation was launched when police had concerns for his wellbeing.
Police said the man and a friend were socialising in Tauranga City when they got in to the water at Dive Crescent and decided to swim to Mount Maunganui.
His friend turned back and headed for shore where he called police, who alerted Coastguard and Search and Rescue.
The tourist was found on Hewletts Rd around 5:10am. He was wet and cold after completing the crossing in the dark.
When confronted by police, the men said they had been followed and jumped in to the water for safety.
However, police said they could find no evidence of this.
Police said they believe alcohol played a significant part in the dangerous crossing, that required a lot of police resources in a high demand period.