National | Drowning

Kakanui drowning victims were brothers

The names of the two men who died after gathering seafood at Kakanui, Otago on Tuesday have been named by police.

“They were brothers Kereta Tatana, 24, of Ahipara, Northland, and 30-year-old Whererika Popata of Windsor, North Otago,” police said in a statement this morning.

On Tuesday, three men were reported missing in the water off Harbour Terrace at 5.30pm.

“One man made his way back to the shore with no injuries.  A second man was found deceased by helicopter and brought back to the shoreline,” police said.

The third man was located deceased by a surfer who assisted with getting the victim to a boat to be returned to shore.

According to Water Safety New Zealand, there have been 16 preventable drowning deaths within this year up until February 8 and 15 of them were male victims.

Police say the two deaths at Kakanui have been referred to the coroner.

“Our thoughts are with Mr Tatana and Mr Popata’s friends and family.”