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Death During Harbour Crossing

MEDIA STATEMENT: Sunday 22 November 8.00pm

Organisers of the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series have extended their heartfelt sympathies to the family of a 57-year-old Auckland man who died while participating in the Harbour Crossing in Auckland yesterday.

Event Director Scott Rice said: “Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

“We have robust safety plans and procedures that are reviewed annually by Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and St John Ambulance. Yesterday we had 58 fully qualified Surf Lifesaving NZ lifeguards on the water alongside a St John Ambulance team including advanced paramedics on site.

“The deceased received prompt attention of the highest order but sadly could not be saved; again we stress our sadness and condolences to the family.”

Surf Lifesaving NZ chief executive Geoff Barry and St John Ambulance Auckland regional event manager Charlotte Guscott both confirmed that the safety procedures in place for yesterday’s event, and the subsequent emergency response and medical assistance provided were at the very highest level.

“Surf Lifesaving New Zealand has established event safety guidelines which Scott uses in his safety procedures,” Mr Barry says. “We believe that best practices were in place in terms of safety at yesterday’s event.”

Ms Guscott added that St John Ambulance also had its own procedures in place and every year has reviewed the procedures for the Harbour Crossing “and we are more than happy with the way Scott runs this event.

“I have spoken to everyone involved again and I am assured there was absolutely nothing more that could have been done.”

Mr Rice noted that more than 15,000 people have successfully taken part in the NZ Ocean Swim Series events over the last three years.

“There will be a full and thorough debrief with Surf Life Saving NZ, St John Ambulance and the police this week.”

ENDS

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