9 Feb 2016

Call for better warning signs after drowning

4:39 pm on 9 February 2016

A Bay of Plenty rafting expert who recovered the body of a drowned man at Okere Falls says there needs to be clearer warning signs in the area.

Okere Falls, Rotorua

Okere Falls Photo: russellstreet / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Emergency services were called to the popular swimming area yesterday afternoon after three young men got into difficulty while swimming.

Police said two of the men managed to get themselves to shore, but one was in a serious condition in hospital.

Local rafters found the body of the third man two hours later.

Rotorua Rafting owner Sam Sutton, who was part of the group that recovered the body, said there was a history of drownings at Okere Falls.

Only good swimmers were able to deal with the strong currents in the river, Mr Sutton said.

The few warning signs in the area were small and hard to find, he said - and large visible signs hanging over the river, as used in other areas of the world, were needed.