Mass Piha rescue: Six saved from strong outgoing tideFriday, 17 January 2020
A mass water rescue was carried out on Sunday. Photo / NZ Herald File
This summer NZME is helping Surf Life Saving to help save lives. The charity relies on the goodwill of thousands of volunteers, fundraising, grants and sponsorship to keep our beaches patrolled. Here's your chance to help raise money for new equipment and lifeguard training.
Half a dozen people who were swept off their feet by a strong outgoing tide at Piha were rescued by lifeguards on Sunday.
The black-sand beach, known for its good surf, was crawling with people as hundreds of beachgoers visited that day to bask in sunshine.
"It was a really nice day to be at the beach that day," Piha Surf Life Saving Club patrol captain Rhys Lloyd said.
"We had a lot of surfers out on the sandbar, so we were keeping flags as far away from them as possible."
Keeping the swimmers and surfers apart could be a big job.
But among the busyness of a summer's day a hand shot up for help in the water, spotted by lifeguards perched in the watchtowers.
Two lifeguards with tubes were in the water within seconds, they would soon would be joined by two IRBs and a board paddler.
They found a group of six swimmers being pulled out to sea by a strong outgoing tide.
Among the group were a father and son, two tourists, and two others.
"They were caught by the power of the current," Lloyd said.
But they had done the right thing, raising their hands and staying calm until lifeguards could reach them, he said.
"Because of that we were able to spot them basically immediately and assist them back to shore.
"It all went quite smoothly."
A patrol in action at Piha's south beach on New Year's Day. Photo / Dean Purcell
Due to how quickly the lifeguards got there nobody was too distressed, Lloyd said.
Nobody required ambulance care afterwards.
Lloyd said it was important for beach users to remember the three Rs if they were ever stuck in a rip.
"Relax, raise your hand and ride the rip."
Always swim at a patrolled beach and feel free to chat to the lifeguards who will help beachgoers spot the rips, he added.
"We are more than happy to take a few minutes out of our time to chat and point out to you any issues on the beach that day."
This summer NZME is helping Surf Life Saving New Zealand to help save lives. The charity relies on the goodwill of thousands of volunteers, fundraising, grants and sponsorship to keep our beaches patrolled. Here's your chance to help raise money for new equipment and lifeguard training.
This article was originally published in the NZ Herald on January 16.