Manawatu police are mourning the death of Sergeant Mike Toon after he died coming to the aid of his daughter who was trying to rescue their family dog from the Manawatu River last night.
Central District Commander Superintendent Sue Schwalger has told media outside Palmerston North Police Station that Sergeant Toon, a police prosecutor, was a respected officer and a loving father.
Sergeant Toon’s body was recovered at 9.30am today.
Police say the river was at an increased level and flowing fast, but Superintendent Schwalger says he was a reasonably strong swimmer.
Sergeant Toon had gone in to save his daughter, who tried to rescue their family dog.
"I have been with Mike’s family today and our hearts are with them at this tragic time," Superintendent Schwalger said.
Sergeant Toon had just celebrated 28 years in the force.
Colleagues today had the difficult task of recovering his body.
"Mike has been described as a professional - a generous man with his time, a loving family man, a man who would give you the shirt off his back," Superintendent Schwalger said.
Family asked to be allowed to grieve in private.
His daughter was rescued from the river and taken to Palmerston North Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The dog made it safely to shore, police say.