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Rescue highlights danger at The Cut

A FATHER and son were lucky two surf lifeguards happened to be in the right place at the right time on Sunday when they were swept out to sea by strong currents in an outgoing tide at The Cut.

The drama unfolded at around 3.15pm that afternoon.

“Two young boys, one aged under 10, the other over 10 years, were swimming at The Cut when they were caught by the strong current,” a Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae surf life saving club spokeswoman said.

“People on the beach saw the emergency unfold and someone gave the boys’ father a surfboard and he tried to paddle out to help his sons.”

But the 47-year-old dad unfortunately got into difficulties himself.

“The alarm was raised at the surf club with members of one of the club’s IRB crews who happened to be there about to start a training session.”

The crew were there preparing for the New Zealand IRB championships at the end of this week at Ruakaka in Northland.

“The younger boy managed to swim out of the current and make his way back to the beach.

“But the other boy and his father were in trouble about 150-180 metres off the beach,” the club spokeswoman said.

“Travis Mitchell and Harry Allan, members of the club’s under-19 IRB team, got their boat in the water and raced out to them.

“They said when they arrived the boy was calling for help and his dad was struggling to stay on the board. He was close to submerging,” she said.

“Travis and Harry picked them up and got them back to the beach safely.”

The exhausted father was taken to Gisborne Hospital by St John ambulance.

“He was assessed in the hospital’s emergency department and then allowed to go home.”

The two boys were taken home by police from the beach.

Mitchell said the father was extremely grateful.

“All he kept saying was ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’.

“For Harry and me it was our first serious rescue and it was great that everything kicked into gear and we able to get to save them.

“It was only a matter of minutes and they both would have been under the water.”

The club spokeswoman said the incident illustrated the care people must take around The Cut.

“In an outgoing tide the current can be fierce, and swimmers can get into trouble quickly.

“The other factor on Sunday was that the two boys and the father were wearing clothing inappropriate for swimming.”

Allan, the IRB driver, and Mitchell, the crewman, raced extremely well at the North Island IRB championships at Waikanae in mid-February, winning three of the four titles in their age group.

They have high hopes for similar success at the national titles at the end of the week.

“They have been training hard, and on Sunday that hard work was put into practice in the real thing,” the club spokeswoman said.

“It was a very well done rescue.

”The father and son were extremely lucky the crew members happened to be at the beach.

“In future, anyone who sees incidents like this should call 111, and the Character Roofing Emergency surf rescue call-out squad will be mobilised.”

IN ACTION: Young Waikanae surf lifeguards Harry Allan and his IRB crewman Travis Mitchell, pictured here at the North Island IRB champs in Gisborne in February, saved the lives of a father and his son at The Cut on Sunday afternoon. Picture by Paul Rickard