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article imageVideo: Heroic beach-goers form human chain to rescue drowning boy

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 12, 2013 in Environment
Napier - Heroic New Zealand beach-goers formed a human chain and rescued Joshua McQuoid, 12, from the sea. He was paddling with a group of friends when he was knocked down and dragged into the sea by a sudden strong current that submerged him in churning surf.
Stuff reports that the 12-year-old was caught by a wave and swept out while playing with friends at the beach on Napier's Marine Parade about 5 p.m. on Sunday.
His friend Hikiroa Ratapu immediately raised an alarm, but rescuers, including two police officers and a German tourist, were unable to recover the boy because of the powerful currents.
An extraordinary collaborative effort followed in which about a dozen people formed a human chain and helped pass McQuoid along the chain to safety on the beach where he received first aid treatment before he was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital.
Constable Paul Bailey, one of the officers involved in the heroic rescue effort said the boy nearly drowned. Bailey said he found McQuoid and grabbed him after the waves accidentally knocked his body against his (Bailey's) legs.
Stuff reports that the constable who stripped off to his underwear when he arrived on the scene, said: "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."
He managed to push through the waves to the boy who at the time was "dead weight with no fight left in him."
Bailey was surprised at the strength of the waves: "We were thrown all over the place. 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. Then we saw the human chain they'd formed and I was able to pass him over."
McQuoid speaking to reporters after his discharge from hospital said he was surprised at the strength of the waves which was only knee-deep. He said the experience was like being in a washing machine. He said: "It was really hard, it flipped me around heaps of times. I didn't know which way was up."
The Daily Mail reports police said McQuoid was underwater for 20 seconds at a time as the waves rolled him over.
His father Shane has thanked rescuers and his friend Hirikoa who raised an alarm. His mother Kath Kuru said she had been calling her son to come home for dinner. She said she did not know he had gone to the beach. She expressed "heartfelt thanks" to all those who helped to rescue her son.
The video shows the rescue effort in progress. It was filmed by a bystander.
More about human chain, joshua mcQuoid, Surf, Marine Parade, Hero
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