Drowning danger closes Himatangi beach

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 18:26 22/01/2013

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Himatangi beach had to be closed after surf lifeguards deemed the beach too dangerous for swimming, with three people nearly drowning.

Swimmers were removed from the water and the beach closed at 3pm yesterday, after lifeguards performed 21 rescues near the flagged patrol area.

Five minutes after shutting the beach, guards were alerted to a group of swimmers in trouble 500 metres away - near the location where 27-year-old Feilding man Jarrett Simeon drowned on January 5.

Two inflatable rescue boats (IRBs) were used to locate the group and lifeguards found a semi-unconscious man being supported on a surfboard by a surfer, with another distressed swimmer nearby.

The second IRB picked up the third struggling swimmer, who had also tried to help his friend.

The swimmers were bought back to the beach, with the semi-conscious patient placed in the recovery position and administered oxygen before being collected by ambulance at about 4pm and transferred to Palmerston North Hospital.

The other swimmers picked up were checked and looked after by lifeguards, but no further assistance was required.

Palmerston North Surf Life Saving Club captain David Pontin said Himatangi has been busy over the last few weeks, with the Wellington Anniversary Day's surf conditions being ''messy and strong''.

This incident - in a similar spot to Mr Simeon's drowning - highlighted the necessity to swim between the flags, he said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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