'She turned around and my father was gone' - Kiwi family shares heartbreak of hero drowning

Five Kiwis paid the ultimate price for helping those who were drowning in New Zealand waters last year, and Seven Sharp met one of those families who was ripped apart.

It’s basic instinct to want to help someone in trouble and last year five Kiwis died trying to helping others. Source: Seven Sharp

Peter's father, also named Peter, was picking pipi while his little brother and nephew were playing in the water.

"They must have come to a sand bank and it just dips off, current was strong that day too so they were being dragged out, and that's when they started panicking," Peter Junior said.

His father went to help the boys in trouble in the water, and holding one in each arm he pushed them towards shore, fighting the current.

When would-be rescuers pay the ultimate price: A few pointers on what to do if you see someone in trouble. Source: Seven Sharp

He managed to drag them in far enough for his wife to pull them to safety.

"She turned around and my father was gone," Peter said.

Water safety experts believe people are too quick to run to help those in distress, and should follow the "three R's" while looking for items to help keep them afloat.

The four R's to help those in danger of drowning. Source: Supplied

The four R's are: Recognise, respond, rescue, revive.