11 Mar 2013

Father grateful to human chain rescuers

8:29 am on 11 March 2013

The father of a boy who almost drowned in the sea off Napier says he is grateful to beachgoers who formed a human chain to save him.

Police officers and members of the public raced to stop Joshua McQuoid being swept out to sea on Sunday.

The 12-year-old had been playing with friends by the water's edge at Marine Parade when he was caught by a wave.

Police say a German tourist tried to rescue the boy but could not keep hold of him, and two police officers who joined in also had difficulties.

The tourist, several members of the public and the officers linked arms as they went into the surf to haul the boy to safety.

His father Shane McQuoid told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that Joshua likened the experience of being tossed about in the surf to being stuck in a washing machine. "One of the waves hit him and he almost went unconscious then, and just at the end when they pulled him out he almost lost consciousness."

Mr McQuoid said he wouldn't still have his son if it were not for the actions of the police officers and beachgoers and he is very thankful.

Senior Sergeant Mike Stevenson said the exhausted boy was taken to hospital and later discharged.

"The presence of mind of one of the officers to form the human chain and the spirit of everyone involved to react immediately was a fantastic effort and resulted in this boy being brought to shore and to safety," he said.