4 Nov 2011

Nothing was done to fence fatal river - council

2:17 pm on 4 November 2011

Gisborne District Council is investigating whether a fence would have prevented the drowning of a three year old boy in a river.

Sukhraj Singh and his three year old cousin were found face-down in the Taruheru River in the Atkinson Street Reserve on Thursday afternoon.

The second boy is in the intensive care unit at Starship hospital in Auckland.

They had wandered away from a nearby house.

Acting chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann says the district council is reviewing a decision made last year not to fence the river, but it is too early to tell if a fence would have prevented the drowning.

Ms Thatcher-Swann says the council had discussions with a community trust last year about the possibility of fencing the river, but nothing was done.

However, she says it is unusual to find natural waterways fenced and sometimes it is not practical or desirable to do so.