Kayaker saves ten from drowning

02:32, Jan 02 2014

On holiday from Australia, former Waitara man Wade McFarlane has now saved 10 people from drowning in five days at Mokau's notoriously dangerous beach.

The latest dramatic rescue at the small settlement 80 kilometres north of New Plymouth, came last night when Mr McFarlane used a boogie board and later a kayak to pull four young men from the surf after they became caught in a rip.

Just days before he was one of two kayakers who helped six swimmers to shore after they became caught in a rip at the same place near the Seaview Beach Camp. 

''I was sitting down for dinner at my caravan and they guys next to me came up and said I might want to help these kids that were in a bit of trouble. Probably because they knew I had helped the others on Saturday,'' he said.

Grabbing a lifejacket and a boogie board Mr McFarlane ran into the sea, quickly assisting two of the men into shallower water and safety.

Unable to see the other two men he swam back  to shore, grabbed a kayak the group had been using and paddled out to find the other two.

''They were about 100 metres out. I went straight to the one who wasn't wearing a life jacket. Then I went to the other guy. They were past the point of panic. They were exhausted. I calmed them down. I said ''hold on and don't let go,'' and paddled them back to shore.

''That took about 20 minutes because the sea was still pulling us out ,'' he said.

One of the men was airlifted to Taranaki Base Hospital by the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter while the other three were taken by ambulance. All four were treated and have now been discharged.

The rescue is almost identical to one at the same beach on Saturday when Mr McFarlane was one of two kayakers who helped six people back to shore after they became caught in a rip at about 1.30pm.

''It's not exactly the way I wanted to be spending the first day of the new year but it makes it a better start for them that we could save them,'' he said.


Taranaki Daily News