Kite flies to rescue woman in dramatic ‘non-fatal drowning’ incident at Raglan Harbor bar


A kite surfer at the entrance to Raglan Harbor was in the right place at the right time to help save the life of a drowning woman in a dramatic rescue on Boxing Day.

The woman, in her 20s or late teens, was part of a group of five swimming in the harbor and found themselves swept away by their mouths, over the sea bass, on ebb tide around 17 o’clock.

The alarm was raised by a member of the public who spotted the struggling group and called the Raglan Surf Life Saving Club directly.

As it was a public holiday, the club was made up entirely of volunteers, including Patrol Captain David Galuszka. He and another rescuer jumped into an inflatable lifeboat (IRB) and attended the scene.


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When they got there they found two members of the group literally in dire straits. The young woman was drifting in and out of consciousness and was assisted by the kite surfer, who had fallen over the group and was using his board to keep them afloat.

“She was not in good condition at all… I would describe her as extremely critical condition,” said Galuszka. Things.

“It would have been a very different story if it had only been a few more minutes. They were very lucky that the kite surfer was there.

The IRB team quickly “stranded” with the affected woman and a St. John Ambulance team quickly attended the scene and performed CPR.

Ngarunui Beach in Raglan is a summer favorite for neighboring Hamilton residents.

Kelly Hodel / Stuff

Ngarunui Beach in Raglan is a summer favorite for neighboring Hamilton residents.

Members of the Raglan Volunteer Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene and the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was also called in.

The woman had suffered what is known as a “non-fatal drowning” and was taken to Waikato Hospital in critical condition. Its current status is not yet known.

Galuszka said he did not know the identity of the kite surfer who helped save the day.

“The police then went looking for him to talk to him, but they couldn’t find him. I have no idea who he was, unfortunately.

A kite surfer helped save the life of a drowning woman at the entrance to Raglan harbor on Boxing Day (file photo)


A kite surfer helped save the life of a drowning woman at the entrance to Raglan harbor on Boxing Day (file photo)

It wasn’t until a few minutes later that rescuers rushed to another rescue, this time to help a windfoiler that got stuck on the bar after the wind died down.

Galuszka described the day as “a real milestone”.

“We had a staff of 1000 at Ngarunui beach at that time [on Sunday] – 750 on the beach and 250 in the water.

The presence of additional emergency services made rescuing the windfoil easier than it otherwise would have been, he said.

“The entrance to the port is a real black spot for our radio communications. We have to work in line of sight with our radios, which means that if something happens around the corner, we have to relay messages to each other.

“I am not sure how easily the problem could be solved. Maybe another repeater at the entrance could solve the problem. This is something that we will have to discuss with Headquarters at some point.

The woman’s rescue was a bright spot on a tragic Boxing Day afternoon on the country’s beaches.

Three people have died in separate water-related incidents while swimming on beaches. Rescuers pulled a 30-year-old man from the waves at Kariotahi Beach just after 2 p.m. after reporting he was in trouble. They were unable to wake him up with CPR and he died at the scene.

The incident occurred at the entrance to Raglan Harbor in the top right of the image.

Dominico Zapata / Tips

The incident occurred at the entrance to Raglan Harbor in the top right of the image.

Just an hour earlier, a woman died following a water-related incident on Waikanae Beach in Kāpiti. Details of this incident remain scarce, and it is not yet clear whether it was a drowning.

And a man drowned at Waiwera Beach just after 4 p.m. He was one of a group of five who got caught in a tear. Rescuers from the ÅŒrewa Surf Life Saving Club quickly launched an IRB and rushed to the unsupervised beach.

Four of the group were recovered alive, but the fifth could not be found. It was located in the water by the Police Eagle helicopter before a second IRB from Red Beach arrived at the scene.

Although St John’s staff performed CPR on the man, he was pronounced dead after 40 minutes.

Surf Life Saving’s operations manager in the northern region, James Lea, said services had been “exceptionally busy” during the festive weekend. There had been three rescues at Hot Water Beach alone.

“The whole Coromandel has been absolutely choppy for the most part. Many people were anxious to go to the beach during the lockdown. They arrive at the beach and jump straight into the water, without really checking the conditions first.

“It’s the old combination of underestimating the environment and overestimating their own capabilities. “

In total, there were 11 rescues, nine people assisted and two people received first aid from surf lifeguards on beaches in the north of the country on Boxing Day.

There were also 10 searches and just over 1,000 preventive actions – keeping people out of trouble – were taken.


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