23 Nov 2009

Temaru urges vigilance after four drowning deaths in Tahiti

2:36 pm on 23 November 2009

French Polynesia's president, Oscar Temaru, has urged parents to be vigilant as a weekend downpour has seen four children drown in a storm water drain.

The four were washed away as they were playing in a canal being rapidly filled following a heavy downpour.

Mr Temaru has expressed his and the government's condolences to the two families, one of whom lost three children.

Speaking on local television, he said this was not the first time such drownings have occurred.

"And I would like to repeat, once more, the message to all families - to be careful as it is the rainy season and the waters can sweep children away easily. They have to be supervised so that they don't play around drainage canals."

The four victims, aged between seven and 15, were found in a river about 100 metres away.