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Police urge caution when swimming in Waikato River, after multiple rescues

Police are urging people to be careful when swimming in the Waikato River after multiple rescues in recent days.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Police are urging people to be careful when swimming in the Waikato River after multiple rescues in recent days.

Police are urging people to use their common sense when heading into the water, after multiple rescues in the Waikato River in recent days.

“We know people in Waikato are really keen to get out and about, particularly following the change in alert levels earlier this week,” Hamilton City area commander Inspector Andrea McBeth said.

As the days got warmer more people were keen to go for a swim or take part in a water-based activity.

The river might be a tempting spot for a quick swim, but it had fast flowing and changeable currents, whirlpools, and the depth of the water could vary widely within a small area.

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The Waikato River had fast flowing and changeable currents, whirlpools, and the depth of the water could vary widely within a small area.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

The Waikato River had fast flowing and changeable currents, whirlpools, and the depth of the water could vary widely within a small area.

“For that reason, it’s important that people who are swimming in the river stay close to shore and be mindful of potential hazards,” McBeth said.

Police responded to four people in the Waikato River at St Andrews in Hamilton on November 5 after a raft capsized.

On November 18, two members of the public reported a man floating down the river at Pukete Bridge towards Huntly with no floatation device.

Another male then got stuck in a tree hanging over the river. The police used a boat to clear the river, but did not locate anything.

On November 19, a 16-year-old male was floating downstream near Malcolm St and got into trouble.

Officers found the boy in the river, holding on to a tree, and rescued him with a police boat. He was taken to the hospital pale and vomiting.

LISA BURD/STUFF

The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter helped in the search for Jordy Adams around the Waiwhakaiho River, New Plymouth, on the night of Saturday, November 13.

McBeth said to ensure everyone returned home at the end of the day, no matter where you were swimming, it was vital to keep some basic water safety rules top of mind.

People should be prepared and know the water and weather conditions before getting in.

It was important to look after yourself and others, and people should not swim alone. Children should always be supervised near water.

People also needed to be aware of the dangers at their swimming location, and should obey all safety signs and warnings. Never drink alcohol before swimming.

Finally, people needed to know their limits and make sure they to stick to spots within their swimming abilities.



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