Tourist caught in Mount beach rip

Mount Maunganui lifeguards at Mount Main Beach. Photo: Cameron Avery.

A Brazilian tourist rescue from the sea off the blowhole last night was ‘straightforward’, says Kent Jarman at the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service.

Police called the lifeguard service about 6pm to say there was somebody in the water off the blowhole.

“One of them was swimming and I think he got swept out in the rip,” says Kent.

“One of his mates was I think on a hired board and went to help him, but wasn’t in a position to paddle him back in.”

They were about 500m offshore when the IRB reached them. Both were given a ride back to the beach.

“I don’t think the guy on the board would have got back on his own,” says Kent. “It was better to get them both back on the beach.

“They were very grateful. Our call out system still works quite well.”

The two men, aged in their late teens or early 20s, were part of a larger group.

The rescued man spoke little English, but one of them spoke English a little better and was able to answer the lifeguards’ questions. Have you swallowed a lot of water? Have you been sick?

“He was fine, he was good. If it’s a stressful rescue and they have been in the water a while, we generally get them checked out by the ambos to make sure they haven’t got water in their lungs,” says Kent.

“If you get salt water in your lungs the body tries to neutralise it and it drags fluid out of your body to neutralise the saline, and you can drown.

“If it’s serious enough, as a matter of course if we do a rescue that is quite a stressful one and people are not in good condition and we have had to give them oxygen, we will send them to hospital in an ambulance to get checked out. Better to be safe than sorry.

“You do that as a normal thing to check if there is a pulmonary oedema.”

Mount Maunganui lifeguards had a busy day on Saturday with the rescue of a windsurfer blown out to sea, a broken down Jet Ski on Matakana Island and woman who broke her leg on the base track temporary steps.

The woman aged in her 60s could not be reached by the quad bike from the Pilot Bay end because of the steps, says Kent.

“It was just on the bottom of the temporary stairs they have put in. They are quite steep. The sooner the get the track finished the better.

“From our point of view it makes our job quite hard. We can now only access the base track from one end.”

He was able to send a lifeguard who is a doctor round the Mount in an IRB, and they were able to assist as best they could until the paramedics arrived with pain relief.

“If the track had been okay then it would have been a short trip back to pilot Bay, but because it was all the way round, the track is the issue with everybody walking on the track, trying to drive a bike with a stretcher across it, so it would have been a long slow quite painful journey.

“The water was nice and calm and it was just a nice simple little boat trip round from the Maori chief back into the beach.”

A Tauranga City Council spokesperson says the work is on track for completion by Christmas.


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