A woman from Palmerston North has drowned after being caught in a rip at Blackhead beach in central Hawke's Bay.
Police say the woman, 38, and her nine-year-old son had waded out to retrieve a fishing buoy when they were suddenly dragged out into deep water.
Inspector Paul Jermy says people on the beach launched a boat to bring the pair back to shore. The boy was fine, but his mother was unconscious.
A fireman and his wife administered CPR for about 45 minutes, but the woman never regained consciousness.