Student who drowned was working on orchard

The quiet of Pinders Pond was disturbed by a police search with a sad conclusion on Friday night....
The quiet of Pinders Pond was disturbed by a police search with a sad conclusion on Friday night. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
A 23-year-old Malaysian national who died at a popular Roxburgh swimming spot on Friday evening was an Auckland student working on a Central Otago orchard.

Police confirmed he was Ehsan Bin Zakaria Muhammad.

He had been swimming at Pinders Pond, near Roxburgh, and failed to surface.

Emergency services were notified of a person missing in the water about 7.35pm.

The police national dive squad was notified, but was later stood down when divers from a local search and rescue team were called in and recovered his body in the murky water about 9.25pm.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand crews from Roxburgh and a rescue helicopter were also sent to the area.

A Roxburgh resident, who declined to be named, said the man was working at a cherry orchard. The community was shocked by his death.

Two Dunedin women, who were holidaying in a campervan at the pond, said they were initially mystified when they saw police searching under large trees on the far side of the pond from the campsite.

"We saw the helicopter landing and soon after that we saw a couple of divers with flippers coming down the bank."

It was not until later that they learned someone had died.

A police spokesman said Mr Ehsan’s death would be referred to the coroner.

The Malaysian High Commission is providing consular assistance and has extended condolences to the family and friends of Mr Ehsan.

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