Wellington [New Zealand], January 24 (ANI): Two Indians lost their lives in a drowning incident in New Zealand's Piha beach, reported nzherald.co.in.
Both victims Saurin Nayankumar Patel and Anshul Shah were from Gujarat and were non-swimmers.
Both victims, who hailed from Ahmedabad went to Piha Beach on Saturday, one of the most dangerous spots to enter and they lost their lives. Their family said that they did not know how to swim.
Indian High Commission's Second Secretary Durga Dass confirmed that two Indian men lost their lives. Patel, 28, was an electrical engineer who arrived in New Zealand in August, while Shah, 31, worked as a cashier at a gas station and arrived here in November.
The pair were roommates in Auckland and both held work visas. Shah was married and Dass said his wife was at Piha when the incident occurred, reported nzherald.co.in.
"It is a massive tragedy for the Indian community, the loss of these two men, and our thoughts go out to their families," Dass said.
The Indian High Commission in Wellington was in touch with the two victims' families.
United North Piha Surf Lifesaving Club president Robert Ferguson is praising the efforts of lifeguards, first responders and bystanders who did everything possible to save the lives of the pair, who had only spent 30 minutes at the beach before tragedy struck, reported nzherald.co.in.
He said the lifesaving club's volunteer patrol was closing down for the day when a lifeguard in the tower spotted two people in the water near the river mouth around 200 meters from Lion Rock, reported nzherald.co.in.
The patrol captain called for preventative action, with two lifeguards sent to tell the pair they were swimming in a dangerous spot and that guards were going off patrol for the day and to be careful.
"Halfway down he could see that it had gone from a preventative action to a rescue," Ferguson said after issuing a rescue call a boat was launched.
"By the time the lifeguards had got to the position where the swimmers had gone in and put their tubes and fins on and swam out, they were gone," he added.
He said the pair were described by family at the beach as "non-swimmers". And he regarded the spot where the pair chose to swim as one of the most dangerous on the beach, reported nzherald.co.in.
"They chose a spot on the beach where it was flat and it's flat because it's deep. They would have walked in and it might have been waist-deep and two more steps would have been over their heads. We think that's what happened," said Ferguson.
"The rescue boat started the search and then quite quickly found the first victim face down in the water, so they pulled him in the boat. They drove it back to the beach for assistance and started resuscitation," he added.
Ferguson said that the family approached them and asked for the whereabouts of the second person, reported nzherald.co.in.
The second victim was spotted from the air by police helicopter, he said, ""The police helicopter landed very quickly right next to us and the crew jumped out and ran fully-kitted with helmet, boots, into the water's edge and just over knee-depth water grabbed hold of the second patient."
Resuscitation efforts started on that person but it was too late, reported nzherald.co.in.
Just hours after the tragedy there had been an outpouring of support from the close-knit beach community, showing their gratitude in floral tributes. (ANI)