Police have released the name of the man who died trying to rescue his friend at Maruia Falls.
Christchurch man Darryl Rolton, 54, drowned on Saturday evening after jumping off the 11-metre falls to save a friend who had been sucked over them.
Nelson police area commander Inspector Steve Greally said Rolton was one of three men from Canterbury, who had stopped at the falls on their way to Nelson.
The group climbed over the barrier fence, and one of the men went for a paddle in the pools above the waterfall about 6pm. He was sucked down a chute and over the waterfall.
''One of his mates jumped off to try to rescue his mate, and the other guy went for help,'' Greally said.
Travellers in the car park below the falls rushed to help the third man, a 48-year-old from Kaiapoi, rescue the pair.
The water below the falls circulates in two huge whirlpools on either side, which prevented the men getting out.
''[The rescuers] could see both of them going around and around and fighting against the current,'' Greally said.
The man swept over the falls was eventually pulled from the water by the travellers, using two cargo strops tied together. He was flown to Nelson Hospital with spinal injuries and later discharged.
Rolton was seen floating face down in the water before disappearing. His body was recovered by police divers about 3.30pm yesterday. Police named him today.
''We feel for the family and the man who was doing something heroic, albeit extremely dangerous,'' Greally said.
''When you see a friend in mortal danger, the natural inclination is to jump in.''
Constable Willy Squires, of Murchison police, said alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.
The matter has been referred to the Coroner.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Why are fewer teens learning to drive?Related story: Teen non-drivers lazy 'narcissists'