British tourist drowns at Piha Beach beach in Auckland


British tourist drowns at beach in Auckland

A British man holidaying with his family in New Zealand has drowned at a beach in Auckland.

Desperate attempts to revive the 55-year-old were unsuccessful after he was found floating unconscious in shallow waters near Lion Rock at Piha Beach.

The St John Ambulance and a Westpac Rescue Helicopter were sent to the scene.

There were no on-duty lifeguards at the beach, as funding for them is limited to the summer months. However, continued warm weather has seen tourists still swimming there.

A member of the public performed CPR on the man before Piha lifeguard Duncan Clarke took over while waiting for the helicopter to arrive.

Mr Clarke told "He was in the water for about 40 minutes and his friends said they were becoming very concerned.

"It's always tough responding to drownings, especially when no one saw him get into trouble and there's uncertainty of how long he was underwater for.

"We never recommend anybody swimming alone."

Northern Region lifesaving club support manager Tom Burgess said: "It's difficult to judge but the response probably would've been faster if there were on-duty lifeguards.

"But the actions were very swift from St John's, the lifeguards and the Westpac team."

According to Radio NZ, it is the third drowning at Piha in little over a month. The bodies of two men were recovered from the sea on the north side of Lion Rock on 24 February.

Oratia resident Steve Knox believes more needs to be done to warn people about the dangers of Piha. He told "There are a lot of people on the beach with the nice weather in the afternoons but there is a real lack of responsibility. We promote the area as a tourist destination but there are too many unaware swimmers are drowning."

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