A surfer was rescued on Wednesday after being found near a ‘HELP’ message scrawled into the sand near West Auckland.
The man had been surfing solo at Karekare Beach, and at some point was swept up onto the rocks. The details of his injuries have not been released, but Stuff NZ reported that he was ‘seriously injured.’ It’s all very Hollywood-esque, but this sand SOS may have very well saved his life. After losing his board and being swept onto the rocks, he attempted to walk back through the bush track but couldn’t make it. At this point, he wrote ‘HELP’ in the sand at Mercer Bay—a two-hour walk from where he started—and passed out.
Auckland is currently in level 3 lockdown after a Covid breach, meaning few individuals are out and about. Fortunately, a bushwalker spotted the injured surfer’s message in the sand and phone North Piha surf club. By the time the lifeguards had arrived, he had passed out. They however had come prepared and administered emergency first aid before taking him on the ski back to Piha where an ambulance was waiting. John-Michael Swannix, the supervisor of New Zealand’s Search and Rescue said the man was ‘very lucky.’
‘The message in the sand is not visible from the walking tracks at the northern end of Mercer Bay,’ Swannix continued. ‘So it was very lucky the informant and her friend were at the southern end and able to see it. With Auckland in alert level 3, not as many people are out and about at the moment so it’s also lucky someone was walking the track at that time.’
The man’s wife—who had filed a missing person’s report after he didn’t return—will also be thrilled he opted for the message and thankful there was a bushwalker there to spot it.