18 Dec 2012

Misleading sign led to drowning

11:01 am on 18 December 2012

Members of the family of a boy who drowned in the Waimakakiriri River say water safety signs misled them into thinking it was safe to swim there.

Haenga Puhipuhi-Albert, 15, died when he was swept into a bridge pile while swimming with his family in February 2010.

The coroner said the boy's family saw a large sign on the bridge with the message "Beware strong currents, think water safety" and a picture of a swimmer with an arrow pointing to the water.

The family thought that meant the river was safe to swim in.

Coroner Sue Johnson agreed the sign was misleading and said Canterbury Regional Council has now erected more explicit signs warning of steep drop-offs and strong currents.