An afternoon swim in a West Auckland lake almost cost a teenager her life yesterday.
The 15-year-old was swimming with a friend at Lake Wainamu, near Bethells Beach around midday, when she started getting into difficulties.
She then had to be dragged to safety by her friend because the area was not patrolled by lifeguards. They arrived 20 minutes later from Bethells Beach, about 1.5km away over sand dunes, after being contacted by emergency services.
Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving patrol captain Chase Cahalane said the teenager stopped breathing for 30 seconds after hyperventilating.
"If you hyperventilate for a long period of time, it can be serious," Cahalane said.
"She might have just gotten a fright."
The girl's lungs were clear by the time two lifeguards arrived by quad bike. She did, however, have a "low level of consciousness".
The Lifeguards then carried the girl for 60m up dunes where paramedics were able to assess her before she was flown to Auckland City Hospital for treatment.
Her injuries were not life threatening.
Cahalane said it was lucky the teenager's friend could call for help, as mobile phone reception in the area was poor.
As summer approaches, Surf Life Saving New Zealand is warning people to stick to patrolled areas and to stay out of the water if they have doubts for their safety.
"People should look after each other when swimming, and to check their depth," Cahalane said.
Last summer surf life savers carried out 400 rescues in the Northern area which stretches from Northland to Raglan. Lifeguards administered first aid 626 times and carried out 115 searches.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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