Surf Life Saving New Zealand acknowledges death at Oakura, New Plymouth

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

On January 13, 2020, off-duty seasonally employed Surf Lifeguards responded to a water-related incident at Oakura Beach, New Plymouth.

It happened at a lifeguarded beach, but outside of New Plymouth Old Boys Surf Life Saving Club’s patrol hours.

A man and woman went swimming at approximately 7.45pm. Both Surf Life Saving NZ and the NZ Police say the swell was large.

They entered the water in front of the nearby camp ground and were caught in a rip and pulled out in to the swell. The male was able to signal for help.

A surfer found the woman face down in the water. He tried to help her and also signalled for help from seven off-duty seasonally employed Surf Lifeguards who were training in the water nearby.

Three of the Surf Lifeguards went to the aid of the man and woman, two of whom got the woman to shore. The other Surf Lifeguard stayed with the man until an IRB (inflatable rescue boat) was deployed by the two other Surf Lifeguards who had swum to shore to get it. The IRB crew picked up the man and took him to land.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident at around 8.25pm and had arrived by the time the woman was brought to shore near the Surf Life Saving Club. She was in a critical condition and CPR was carried out, but she died at the scene. The man was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital where he was treated.

Our thoughts are with the woman’s family and friends at this sad time.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand acknowledges the Surf Lifeguards and the emergency services who attended.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Coastal Safety team will work with emergency services to establish the circumstances.


For more information, please contact:

Melanie Louden
Surf Life Saving NZ
Media and Communications Manager
021 757 433