13 Apr 2009

Drowning toll up this year

4:36 pm on 13 April 2009

Eleven people have drowned at beaches so far this year, which Surf Life Saving New Zealand says is an extremely high number.

A total of 16 people drowned at New Zealand beaches in 2008.

Surf Life Saving chief executive Geoff Barry says most of the deaths occurred outside the red and yellow flags, or at times when the beaches were not patrolled.

Mr Barry says the number of beach rescues this summer has been relatively low, at almost 1500.