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Lifeguards Urge Caution

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lifeguards Urge Caution

Eastern Bay swimmers are being urged to stay out of the sea as king tides and a strong undertow create havoc on local beaches.

Whakatane Harbourmaster Joe Burke said a woman and her two children had a lucky escape this morning after a rogue wave dragged them toward the sea.

"I was told the woman and her children were in ankle-deep water when a wave struck her at shoulder height," Mr Burke said. "She picked up one child and was able to wade out of the water while bystanders rushed in to help the second child who was swimming in the surf."

Mr Burke said a similar incident had been reported yesterday.

"And today's swell is bigger than it was yesterday.

I understand Whakatane District Council are currently in the process of putting up ape to close the Otarawairere Bay walkway from West End due to concerns people will get trapped by the surf."

He has recommended people stay out of the water.

Whakatane Surf Life Saving vice president Michelle Cossey has described conditions at Ohope Beach as really dangerous.

I went down to the beach this morning and a wave greeted me at the bottom of the beach access," Ms Cossey said. "There's an extremely strong undertow that has been there since the weekend and huge dumping waves.

"Even the most experienced people should stay out of the water."

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