THE heroic efforts of fellow beachgoers and police saved a 12-year-old boy from drowning in Napier at the weekend.
Josh McQuoid was caught by a wave and swept away as he was swimming with friends at Marine Parade.
It took four police officers and a human chain to pull him from the surf.
He said he was just putting his feet in the water when waves bowled him and his friends over.
“It was only knee-deep,” Josh told Fairfax NZ.
“That was what surprised me, and it swept me off my feet.”
While he is tall and fit, he was no match for the waves and he struggled to keep his head above the water.
“It was really hard, it flipped me around heaps of times … I didn’t know which way was up.”
After a German tourist was unable to keep hold of Josh, Napier Constable Paul Bailey stripped off to his underwear when he arrived on the scene.
“We could see [constable] Bryan Farquharson getting knocked over in the waves. When I ran down I could see Bryan was talking to the boy, who was screaming and crying.
“Between waves I could see that he could touch the bottom. I thought well if he can touch the bottom I’m going out to grab him because I’ll be able to touch the bottom too. But when the first wave hit it took me straight off my feet,” Bailey said.
He eventually managed to get through and grab Josh, who was “a dead weight with no fight left in him”.
“We were thrown all over the place,” Bailey said.
“On one occasion I got up and I couldn’t see him. I thought ‘oh no, that’s it, he’s lost’. He was totally submerged but fortunately he banged into my legs as he was getting sucked back out again. That’s how I found him again,” he said.
“Then we saw the human chain they’d formed and I was able to pass him over,” Bailey said.
Josh was moved up the beach and given first aid.
Josh’s father Shane McQuoid said his friend Hikiroa Ratapu was their “little hero” for quickly raising the alarm.
“If he wasn’t thinking straight he would have jumped in,” he said, adding that could have easily led to two drownings.
Josh was released from hospital after a brief observation.
His mother Kath Kuru and Mr McQuoid wanted to thank everyone that had helped their youngest son out of trouble.
“We just want to show our heartfelt thanks and gratitude.”