Two children rescued after falling into Porirua lagoon

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 03/01/2014

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Concerns have been raised about safety at Porirua's Aotea Lagoon after two children fell into the water in the past two days.

A young boy fell into the duck pond yesterday while feeding the ducks and was saved by the quick actions of a passer-by.

The pond's pontoon has only a low rope barrier.

Witness Richard Beauchamp said he saw a woman in her 50s jump into the water to rescue the boy yesterday.

"I thought she'd fallen in, but she came up with the little boy," he said.

"Everyone was in hysterics."

It looked as if the boy was with his grandmother at the time, while his mother was in the toilet, he said.

The mother came running over, terrified, when she saw what had happened.

"The child was certainly screaming - he'd taken on a lot of water."

The rescuer was a shy Pacific Islander, and did not seem to want anyone to make a fuss, Mr Beauchamp said, but he believed she deserved some recognition for her actions.

He said the ropes around the pond were not enough to stop children falling in.

In another incident, on New Year's Day, a girl riding a bike on the path around the lagoon lost control and rolled down a steep bank into the water.

She was pulled out by passerby Maree Wellborne, who said she had worried about bikes on the path before.

"The danger with the lagoon is when they are on their bikes," she said.

"With the duck pond, little kids could easily fall in.

"It would be great if they could do something about it, as it's only a matter of time until something serious happens."

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett said he was concerned to hear about the issue.

"I'm going to ask that we get the parks staff to look at it and see if there is anything we can do to make it a bit safer," he said.

"It's also important to keep kids close if they are around water.

"It's that time of year, and I'd ask people to be conscious of safety around Aotea Lagoon."

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- The Dominion Post

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