Mayor backs Fai inquest findings

Published: Fri 14 Aug 2009 03:35 PM
Mayor backs Fai inquest findings
14 August 2009
Mayor Bob Harvey is supporting calls for improved safety at Bethells Beach following the death of Warriors league player Sonny Fai.
Chief Coroner Neil MacLean recommended an emergency landline phone at the remote beach after an inquest into the 20-year-old’s drowning.
Mr Harvey, a veteran surf lifesaver, says the phone would be a safety boost.
Telephone coverage in the area is patchy and many nearby houses do not get regular reception, he says.
“Getting quick help in the surf can be the difference between life and death. As a surf lifesaver of 50 years I know that when you’re in trouble in the water, minutes count.
“An emergency phone could stop more tragedies like this.”
Twenty two people have drowned on West Coast beaches in the last decade, including four in 2008.
Waitakere City Council will work with Telecom, Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and the community to establish the emergency phone at Bethells Beach.
It has long worked with the ARC and community groups to improve safety on the coast.
Signage was put up on every West Coast beach in 2005, warning of the danger in the notorious surf.
Angel rings, or lifebuoys, were installed at rock fishing spots on beaches including Bethells, Whatipu, Muriwai and Piha in 2008.
“People should be able to enjoy the beauty of our wild West Coast,” says Mayor Harvey.
“We are doing our best to make sure it’s safe.”

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