TODAY |

Child dies after being swept out to sea near Napier; third fatal drowning in 24 hours

A young boy has died after being swept into the sea in Napier this afternoon.

Marine Parade, Napier. Source: istock.com

The child was reported to be in difficulty around 3.40pm, off Marine Parade, and a helicopter was sent to help.

Two police officers, who are also surf lifesavers, jumped into the water to try rescue the boy, police say.

Despite rescue efforts, police confirmed the child died at the scene. 

The boy is the third person to have died in the water in the last day.

A body was found in Whanganui today after a swimmer was reported missing yesterday evening, and a woman died while trying to save her child at Northland's Baylys Beach yesterday evening.

Another person has been confirmed missing off Waihi Beach since 12.40pm, with a search still underway by 6.30pm.

Surf Life Saving NZ is pleading for people to be extra vigilant and take care this weekend, and through the rest of summer.

National lifesaving manager Allan Mundy says people often overestimate their abilities and underestimate the conditions, warning of the dangers of rips.

"The waves might look alright, but the rips are still there," he said after today's death.

"If you’re unsure that what you’re looking at is a rip, don’t get in the water. If in doubt, stay out.

"People think they are able, but haven’t done an honest check of themselves. If they are in doubt of their ability in conditions then stay out, don’t go in."

He encourages people to make sure they're swimming between the flags and at beaches monitored by lifeguards.

"Keep children close enough to cuddle and never swim alone," he says.

If caught in a rip, stay calm, float on your back and put your hand up. 

Either a lifeguard will come get you or someone will call 111 to get help to you, Mr Mundy says.

"You can last a long time floating on your back in the surf."