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Swimmer rescued off Catlins Coast overnight

"Swimmer rescued off Catlins Coast overnight"

Please attribute to Sergeant Ian Martin, SAR Coordinator, Invercargill:

At around 1:40am on Sunday 3 December Police received a report that a man who had gone swimming at Waikawa Harbour, on the Catlins coast, had got into trouble.

The Dunedin man in his 20s, had entered the water at the Waikawa Wharf and become caught in the outgoing current in the harbour channel.

His friends called Police and a search and rescue operation was launched.

This included volunteers from Waikawa Rural Fire, local commercial fishermen and members of the Tokanui LandSAR group.

A night vision equipped helicopter from Southern Lakes Helicopters in Te Anau was also deployed.

In the meantime, the man was fortunately able to swim ashore on the opposite side of the harbour.

He crossed farm land onto an isolated road in Progress Valley where he walked six kilometres before finding a house where he could report to Police that he was safe at around 3:20am.

Police have established the man had been drinking with a group when he was encouraged to swim out to a moored yacht.

The man and his friends are very lucky this story didn’t have a different outcome.

It is never a good idea to go swimming in unfamiliar water, particularly at night and especially not if you have been drinking.

Excessive drinking can affect your decision-making, it’s important that everyone takes responsibility for keeping themselves safe.

ENDS

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