Four teenagers carried out to sea by a strong current are “extremely lucky” to be alive thanks to quick-thinking Coastguard volunteers in the right place — Maketu — at the right time this afternoon.
A group of Coastguard Maketu volunteers were at a cafe on the Western Bay of Plenty beach when they heard screams for help around 2.30pm, the Coastguard said, in a media release.
Acting fast, president Shane Beech rushed to the scene as he alerted volunteers to launch the unit’s jet skis immediately.
Within minutes, the Coastguard launched its first jet ski, quickly followed by another.
Two of the teenagers were rescued on the jet skis, while two others were saved by local surfers who kept them afloat until the Coastguard could return for them.
The teenagers and the two surfers were safely brought to shore after their ordeal.
Local first responders, including police and off-duty lifeguards, were also soon at the scene for support.
Two of the teens were taken to hospital after ingesting a “significant amount of saltwater”.
Beech stressed the importance for beach-goers to familiarise themselves with local conditions, particularly the swift outgoing tide at Maketu Beach.
“The teenagers were extremely lucky, and we’re just so happy that we were able to bring them back to shore safely,” he said.
“This incident serves as a reminder to visitors that understanding beach conditions is crucial for safety.”