25 Feb 2014

Drownings result of 'bad practice'

3:19 pm on 25 February 2014

A coroner says bad practice probably led to the drownings of four men within a week at a Port Waikato beach.

Brothers Maka and Aisea Inoke, and their friend Hopapi Pepa drowned at Kariotahi Beach while setting a fishing net from the shore on Labour Day in 2011.

Four days later, Maka Vehikite drowned at the same beach, also while set-netting.

In his findings, coroner Tim Scott said the four drownings could be an unlucky coincidence but are more likely to be because of bad practice.

Mr Scott said none of the men was wearing a lifejacket and the only warning sign at the beach was old and difficult to read.

He is recommending the Waikato District Council upgrade the signs, and says anyone net-fishing should wear a lifejacket.