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Family of drowning victim at Christchurch beach said he 'gave his life to save another'

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 16 Nov 2022, 10:12am
The family of a Christchurch man who died at Spencer Park beach has praised his heroism, saying he “gave his life to save another”. Photo / Alan Gibson. [File photo]
The family of a Christchurch man who died at Spencer Park beach has praised his heroism, saying he “gave his life to save another”. Photo / Alan Gibson. [File photo]

Family of drowning victim at Christchurch beach said he 'gave his life to save another'

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 16 Nov 2022, 10:12am

The family of a Christchurch man who died at Spencer Park beach has praised his heroism, saying he “gave his life to save another”.

Police said they responded to an incident at Spencer Park beach at lunchtime on Sunday, Water Safety NZ confirmed one person had died after being unable to be revived by lifeguards.

Chief executive Daniel Gerrard said he understood the man had tried to rescue a young child after they had either been swept out by a rip or had swum out of their depth in the swells, which were slightly bigger than usual.

Watersafety NZ's Daniel Gerrard said he understood the man had tried to rescue a young child after they had either been swept out by a rip or had swum out of their depth. Photo / NZME

Watersafety NZ's Daniel Gerrard said he understood the man had tried to rescue a young child after they had either been swept out by a rip or had swum out of their depth. Photo / NZME

Nearby lifeguards were able to rescue the child, Gerrard said, and brought the unconscious man on to the beach where they tried to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful.

Now the family of the person involved have posted on Givealittle, asking for funds so they can give the man “the send-off he deserves.”

“Tragically he did not win the battle for his life and was taken too soon,” a statement on the page said.

Gerrard is now urging Kiwi men, the most common group in New Zealand to become a victim of drowning, to take better care in and around the water this summer.

“In 2021 we lost 90 people to drowning, and 76 were male. And already this year, 70 families have lost a loved one. More often than not they’re a father, a son, an uncle, a brother or a grandfather,” Gerrard wrote in an open letter to “New Zealand men”.

“To Pakeha males in powerboats, Māori men gathering kai underwater, Asian men fishing from rocks, Pasifika men fishing from boats … you guys are consistently over-represented in our drowning tragedies.

“By knowing the conditions, supervising the kids, wearing a life jacket, and remembering you’re not as good as you were when you were 20. You will make it home at the end of the day.”

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