2 Mar 2013

Student stable after group caught in rip

6:50 am on 2 March 2013

A teenage girl remains in hospital after almost drowning when a group of students was dragged out by a rip while on a trip to Goat Island near Dunedin.

Rescue helicopter paramedic Ian Ridley said the girl was underwater for a period of time. She is in a stable condition at Dunedin Hospital on Friday night.

The Year 9 students from Columba College were at an unpatrolled beach on the island in Otago Harbour when they got into trouble while swimming about 2pm.

A dozen students who were swimming were dragged out by a rip and were rescued by surf lifesavers and surfers.

St John Ambulance said seven people were taken to hospital by helicopter or ambulance suffering from water inhalation and hypothermia and six have since been released.

Board of trustees chair Tony Sycamore said the girl would remain in hospital overnight.

Mr Sycamore said 84 girls from Year 9 and 25 caregivers, including seven teachers, were on the orientation trip for the younger pupils.

He said school has been running the event for more than 10 years and was told that the rip came through suddenly.

Surf lifesaver Steph Lawton, who took part in the rescue effort, said the beach it is not one she would recommend for school groups.