Attributable to Senior Sergeant Andy Livingstone:
Over the past 24-hours Taupō Police and Coastguard have responded to two swimmers in trouble on the Waikato River.
Both had got into difficulty on what is known as the ‘river float’, between Control Gates Bridge and Hipapatua Reserve (Reid’s farm), which is situated just before Huka Falls.
These people were attempting to float down the river on floatation devices designed and sold for use in pools.
We are very fortunate the outcome didn’t end in tragedy on both occasions.
Currently the river is at a very high-level and flowing very quickly.
Swimmers and those floating down the river are getting caught by the current and in one particular area being pushed into a large pine tree which has fallen into the river.
Police and Coastguard have retrieved five different floatation devices from this tree.
Police are advising not to participate in the river float at this time, due to the swift current.
It is not the same as other years.
Rivers are changeable and unpredictable and can contain hidden dangers.
Water can change in depth each summer and currents can move objects underwater.
We want everyone to come home to their whānau after a day enjoying the water.
Whether diving, swimming or boating, it is vital that you avoid alcohol and wear a life jacket.
Police also recommend having a phone on you in a dry bag.
Check out the Water Safety Code for more information on how to stay safe this summer.
Issued by Police Media Centre