Surf Life Saving NZ Acknowledges Fatality at Taieri Mouth

Friday, 9 April 2021

Apr 8, 2021

Surf Lifeguards assisted in the attempted resuscitation of a young child at Taieri Mouth south of Dunedin on April 3, 2021.

Shortly after 1pm, the Surf Life Saving New Zealand Otago Search & Rescue (SAR) Team received a call from NZ Police to advise that a boat had capsized on the river bar.

Members of the public had witnessed the incident and recovered the patients. The team arrived to find 5 patients on the beach, all in need of medical attention. One member of the public, an off-duty ICU doctor, had commenced CPR and the team supported this individual in continued resuscitation efforts until the first rescue helicopter arrived.

The team then triaged the remaining four patients whilst waiting for 2 more helicopters and an ambulance to arrive and take the patients to hospital.

Tragically, the young child undergoing CPR did not survive despite a phenomenal collective effort involving the Otago SAR team, members of the public and additional emergency personnel. This was a devastating outcome for everyone involved and our thoughts are with the child’s family and wider community.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand would like to acknowledge the Otago SAR team, the members of the public who recovered the patients from the water and initiated first aid, Fire & Emergency NZ, Ambulance personnel and NZ Police.

The death will be referred to the Coroner and Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Coastal Safety team will work with emergency services to establish the circumstances.


For more information, please contact:

Mackenzie Koppel

Surf Life Saving NZ Media & Communications Manager

021 757 433