Three families grieve after drownings

source:  by Joanne Carroll

Three families were grieving last night after a horror day on the water brought three separate drownings.

A male swimmer in his 50s died after suffering a heart attack while competing in the 2.5km Taupo Epic open water swim yesterday.

Organisers said the swimmer got into difficulty and attempts to resuscitate him by the water safety team and St John paramedics were unsuccessful.

In Tauranga, a fishing trip turned to tragedy yesterday after a 51-year-old Aucklander drowned while setting flounder nets in an estuary.

The man and a 49-year-old friend from Tauranga had been wading in thigh-deep water, setting out flounder nets near Tye Park, Welcome Bay, about 1.30pm.

The 49-year-old man is in Tauranga hospital. His condition was described as serious.

And a man was missing, presumed drowned, after being caught in a rip while swimming with friends in Titahi Bay, near Wellington.

The Westpac rescue helicopter, Mana Coastguard and the Titahi Bay Surf Lifesaving Club were combing the area for signs of the missing man last night.

Water Safety New Zealand boss Matt Claridge said he was particularly concerned at the number of swimmers who had drowned in open water events in recent years.

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