News from NZ Police
A group of secondary school girls and yet to be identified members of the public today helped rescue a woman who fell several metres into the Waikato River in her mobility scooter.
Shift Manager, Senior Sergeant Wayne Petherick said emergency services were called to the eastern bank of the Waikato River, near the old Waipa Delta pier, about 1.30pm.
“We arrived to find a woman in a mobility scooter had plunged about 20m from a walkway into the river. At this time we don’t know if this was as a result of a mechanical fault or operator error as we are concentrating on locating the woman’s next of kin.
“Prior to Police arrival a group of Sacred Heart Girls’ College students, assisted by other members of the public, entered the water and kept the woman’s head above water. In a combined Police, St John Ambulance and Fire Service operation the woman was extracted from the water and her mobility scooter recovered.”
Mr Petherick said he had little doubt the actions of the parties who entered the water played a major part in the successful rescue of the woman and Police would be looking at the most appropriate way of recognising the actions of those involved.
“The woman, who has been identified, was taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance for a medical assessment.
“At this point we don’t know the extent of any injuries or if her mobility scooter landed on her in the fall. Either way the people involved in her rescue have every reason to be proud of their actions.”
Hamilton Police investigating what caused a woman’s mobility scooter to leave a walkway and plunge 20m into the Waikato River have located the injured woman’s immediate family.
City Area Commander, Inspector Greg Nicholls, said several people, both members of the public and of the emergency services, had performed commendably.
“We understand a group of Sacred Heart Girls’ College students, assisted by some unknown males entered the water and kept the 58-year-old woman’s head above the surface before emergency services arrived.
“Then a number of emergency service staff went into the river to rescue the woman and recover the scooter. While the woman’s wellbeing is being addressed by Waikato Hospital staff we are currently working to identify all those involved.”
The mobility scooter has been removed to the Hamilton Central Police Station where it will be the subject of an examination tomorrow.
Mr Nicholls said that depending on what the findings of resulting interviews are, there are a number of avenues available in relation to official recognition for the various parties’ actions.
“We have been in contact with the school and the Ministry of Education in relation to this and at this stage I would like to formally acknowledge the efforts of all those involved.
“It is reassuring that people still have a strong sense of community and when they see someone in trouble they step up to the mark and in this case, prevented a tragedy from occurring.”