3 Feb 2018

Police praise quick actions after boy snagged by tree

3:28 pm on 3 February 2018

Police have recounted how the quick actions of two men saved a boy snagged by a tree in the Rakaia River from drowning.

The 12-year-old was swimming with friends in the Rakaia Gorge last week when he was caught in the strong current and swept 300m down the river, before becoming entangled in the sunken branches of a willow tree.

Police in Methven said his leg was caught, and he was struggling to stay afloat.

The skipper on a nearby jetboat went to his aid, with a passenger jumping into the water to free his foot.

He was scooped up and taken to the bank, along with his three mates, who'd stayed with him and were carried into the thick cluster of willows.

The boy, who had a leg injury and had swallowed water, was taken to Christchurch Hospital, but released the next day with no serious injuries.

Constable Guy Atkinson said it was a serious situation and the boy, from Ashburton, would have drowned if it was not for the actions of the two men.

"They pulled off a successful rescue during a tense situation. The pair should be extremely proud of themselves for saving the boy's life.

"It's not a day the men or the boys are likely to forget," Mr Atkinson said.