9 Apr 2012

Four die in Easter weekend drownings

6:13 am on 9 April 2012

Four men have drowned and a seven-year-old had to be rescued from the water in separate incidents in the past two days.

David Edward Bryce, 56, died when he was swept off rocks into the sea south of Westport, about 5pm on Saturday.

A man in his 30s drowned in a late night swim off Auckland's Te Atatu Peninsula.

And witnesses say a 55-year-old man went into a lake in the same area on Sunday to rescue a dog being attacked by swans.

He was pulled from the water, but resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

A 27-year-old man drowned at Waikino Gorge, near Waihi, after he became trapped underneath a waterfall, about 12pm on Sunday.

And a seven-year-old boy was flown to Starship hospital following a near drowning at Hahei near Whitianga, just after 2pm on Sunday.

Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge says four drownings in such a short time is very disappointing but he is not surprised.

Mr Claridge says there is usually a small spike in drownings at Easter as people make the most of the last of the warm weather.

He says 40 people have drowned this year compared to 45 this time last year.