11-year-old drowns at Waipū River mouth

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

Police have released the name of the 11-year-old boy who drowned at the mouth of the Waipū River yesterday, his name was Jahzel Porter, of Whangarei.

Despite the arrival of Emergency Services, the young boy succumbed to the strong tow of the ebbing tide yesterday afternoon.  Earlier yesterday locals and holiday makers had already spoken to us of their concerns.

Lisa Dullabh says, “The biggest concern for us has been how many rescues have been this year.  We come every year and it’s been the worst year, I'd say, up in Uretiti.”

Police say the drowning occurred despite the grandfather of the two boys being warned of the danger, with the younger seven-year-old boy who survived by being flown to hospital.  Only on Christmas day, a Chinese man drowned in the area setting his crab net.

According to Mike Yu, “Some people think they're experienced, they've been dealing with the ocean for a while so they think it's ok to go into there that they won't be in danger.”

This is the second drowning on the coast since Christmas day, with holidaymakers who have come here for years saying the distance to travel on this coast means the establishment of a permanent lifeguard at the southern end of the beach is vital.

“It seems that they don't understand the beach itself and it's having a bit of respect for the beach and I think that if they actually understood it, where the rips come through, there might not be so many incidents that happen,” says Dullabh.