The preventable drowning of an international student at Tauranga’s Omanawa Falls has highlighted how New Zealand’s natural beauty can mask the danger that exists in our great outdoors, says Water Safety New Zealand.
The death of 27-year-old Kishore Kumar Aravindan is the 30th preventable drowning in New Zealand for 2018.
“First and foremost I would like to offer my condolences to the Aravindan family. Every preventable drowning is a terrible tragedy for a family and a community,” says Water Safety New Zealand CEO Jonty Mills.
“This tragedy highlights how our waterways can appear tranquil, but contain hidden dangers. We advise everyone to remember the Water Safety Code.
"Be prepared, watch out for yourself and others, be aware of the dangers and know your limits.”
WSNZ is currently supporting work on a water safety strategy for Bay of Plenty to promote a community led, locally focused effort to reduce (and eventually eliminate) preventable drowning incidents.
“We want to engage with communities and identify what needs to be addressed at all levels in Bay of Plenty," says Jonty.
"Actions to support individuals, help whanau support and protect each other, and identify what public infrastructure might be needed to reduce the number of preventable drownings.”
There were 12 preventable drowning fatalities in Bay of Plenty in 2017 out of the national toll of 88. In 2018 so far there have been six.
Mountain Safety Council CEO Mike Daisley is keen to remind people heading into the outdoors to plan their trips carefully.
"It’s critical that folks heading into the outdoors, even for a short day trips like this one, to plan their trip with the Outdoor Safety Code in mind.
"That includes thinking about how would help find you if something did go wrong? An ‘unexpected night out’ can happen very easily."
"If someone in your group suffers an injury, or you take a wrong turn at a junction or lose the track altogether time can slip away and you might be out overnight."
"Even if you’re only a few hundred meters from the car park it can feel like the middle of nowhere in the dark.
"If you’ve left your trip plan and intentions - especially when you’re due back - with a trusted contact they can raise the alarm if you’re not back in time"