23 Apr 2017

Fundraiser after swimmer's death in Auckland Harbour

6:35 pm on 23 April 2017

The wife of a swimmer who died in Auckland Harbour after possibly being hit by a boat says she has lost her best friend.

The body of Leslie Gelberger, a Westlake High School teacher, was found in the sea on Friday with one leg missing.

His wife, Laura McLeod, said it had been an unbelievably difficult few days and she didn't know how she was going to cope without her husband.

Ms McLeod said he loved the water but safety was also very important to him.

She said her two sons, aged five and seven, were struggling to come to terms with what happened.

Mr Gelberger's sister-in-law, Dawn McLeod, has started a fundraising page for his family.

She writes that he was a kind and gentle soul who had a great sense of adventure and loved being in the water.

Others have also taken to the GoFundMepage to express their grief.

Shanay Ramphal said Mr Gelberger was a one-in-a-million teacher and physics would not be the same without him.

Police are investigating whether a Port of Auckland pilot boat was involved in his death and the company's chief executive, Tony Gibson, said it was co-operating with the inquiry.