26 Jul 2012

Beach danger warning from coroner

2:00 pm on 26 July 2012

The coroner has issued a warning about treacherous West Coast beaches following the drowning of a 59-year-old man at Auckland's Bethells Beach.

Gordon Matenga found on Thursday that Tae HeonJung's death in April 2011 could have been preventable if he had worn a lifejacket.

He found that Mr Jung was swept from a rock by a large wave while rock fishing with two other men and his drowning was accidental.

But Mr Matenga says Mr Jung could still be alive today if he had made use of readily available safety equipment such as a lifejacket.

He warned that rock fishing is inherently dangerous, especially at West Coast beaches, which are known for sudden and unexpected waves breaking over rocks.

The coroner says he decided to hold a public inquest into Mr Jung's death so he could sound a warning about the dangers of those beaches and prevent similar deaths.