20 Jan 2014

Public praised for attempts to save boy

6:32 am on 20 January 2014

A seven-year-old boy has died after a sand hole he was digging collapsed on him at a Northland beach.

St John Northland operations manager Tony Devanney says an ambulance and a rescue helicopter were called to a Pataua South beach near Whangarei just after 1.30 pm Sunday.

Mr Devanney says the boy stuck his head in the hole to have a look, and he was suffocated when it collapsed around him.

He says bystanders tried to resuscitate the boy but were unsuccessful.

"A little seven year old boy at Pataua South digging a hole in the sand, and he stuck his head in the sand, as they do, and it collapsed on him and and not sure who but the family, friends or bystanders pulled him out but he was pulseless at that stage."

Mr Devanney is praising bystanders for immediately starting resuscitation.

Police are not releasing any further information until next of kin have been notified.

The Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter says emergency services and bypassers did everything they could to try to resuscitate the boy.

A pilot, Russell Proctor, says when the helicopter arrived, members of the public were performing CPR on the boy.

Mr Proctor says they were joined by four paramedics and three doctors who were at the scene.

He says there were about 30 people at the beach, some of whom were members of the boy's family.