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Five men drown over Easter break

Tuesday 10 Apr 2012 4:55p.m.

Five men drown over Easter break
Warm and fine weather is being blamed for five drownings over Easter, the same weather that may have helped keep the holiday road toll to zero for the first time since records began.

Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge told NZ Newswire warmer weather may have tempted more swimmers to head out for a dip.

"Easter can have some disproportion [in the number of drownings] especially with the weather we've got now, people want to cool off," he said.

"I'm not overly surprised [at the number of drownings] but it comes down to complacency and being overly enthusiastic."

The most recent drowning was a 22-year-old man who went missing while swimming with friends off the northern Wairarapa coast on Monday.

The area had a strong rip and despite an intensive aerial search and dive attempts his body had still not been found on Tuesday afternoon.

On Sunday three men drowned.

One was pinned by currents under a waterfall at Waikino Gorge, between Paeroa and Waihi, another drowned in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, near Birkenhead, while swimming and the third man drowned, also at Birkenhead, while trying to rescue a dog being attacked by swans.

On Saturday, a man drowned after being swept from rock at Charleston, south of Westport.

The road toll over the Easter period was nil - the first time that result has been achieved since records began in 1956.

Police said road safety improvements, tighter policing and better driving contributed to the lack of fatalities, but also admitted the fine weather helped.

Weather Watch analyst Phillip Duncan described the weather for most of New Zealand over the Easter period as "exceptional", aside from a few showers.

NZN

 
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