Basketball team's river rescue

JILL CLEAVE
Last updated 12:28 21/03/2014
 basketball team, human chain
FAIRFAX NZ

LOCAL HEROES: Paeroa College senior boys basketball team heroes (back from left) Kieran McShane, 16, Jesse Mason, 16, Christian Cooper, 15, Regan Thomas, 17, Braden Hodgson, 17 and Jason Tata-Henry, 15, (front) Finn Thomas, 15, Graham Te Teira, 15 and Tipene Morunga, 17.

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Nine Paeroa boys are being hailed as heroes after they formed a human chain to rescue two women and a dog.

The drama took place on March 12 when the boys began a rescue attempt of two women and a dog in difficulty in Waikato's Ohinemuri River just behind the McDonald's there.

Braden Hodgson, 17, said he was walking home from basketball practice when a woman called to him for help as there were two women and a dog in the river.

"I called out to Tipene and we started looking for the lady then Regan and Finn came along and they came and helped and pretty soon we were all there," he said.

The boys formed a chain down the steep bank and, after rescuing the dog, started to pull a woman, who had been struggling to reach the bank, out.

Tipene Morunga, 17, said they did not know there were two women in difficulty at that stage.

"We were ready to jump in but a police lady came along and told us not to," he said.

The Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade had by this time arrived and managed to get the other woman to safety.

Paeroa police watchhouse officer Kelly Ross said the nine boys have been praised for their actions which potentially saved lives.

Ross said the boys were presented with certificates at their school assembly.

"We just really wanted to show our appreciation to these boys as the story could have been a very different one without their help," she said.

The boys, who are playing their first season as a team, said it had been an exciting end to the day.

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- Waikato

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