Drunk sparks major lake search

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 13:26 27/12/2012
Lake Ellesmere

LAKE ELLESMERE: The lakeside domain is a popular holiday spot for families.

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A drunk Christchurch man sparked a major late-night search at Lake Ellesmere after wandering into the water early on Boxing Day.

Senior Constable Nigel Craythorne, of the Leeston police, said the 25-year-old was found at 2.20am after a search involving about 25 personnel, including police, firefighters, a search and rescue co-ordinator and a Westpac rescue helicopter crew.

A firefighter searching with a spotlight along the shore spotted the man, who was in a shallow area of the lake.

Craythorne said the man had been staying with extended family at Lakeside Domain, which borders the lake near Leeston, and walked into the water after becoming heavily intoxicated.

Family members tried to bring him in and campers alerted emergency services. 

"He managed to bring himself in after [several] hours in the water," Craythorne said. 

The man was airlifted to Christchurch Hospital and discharged later yesterday.

Craythorne said the man had been trespassed from the domain, which is a popular holiday spot for families.

Craythorne said there had been several complaints about people breaching Selwyn District Council bylaws, including letting dogs roam unleashed and using motorcycles in the area.

He said police had the "full backing" of the council to trespass people breaking the rules or causing problems at holiday spots in the district.

"We're asking people to be considerate and aware. When they are camping out there, they need to keep an eye on each other and not let it turn into a boozefest," he said.

"These spots are designed for families to have a hassle-free time."

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- The Press

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