National | Aotea

Life support withdrawn for boy trapped in sand dunes on Aotea, GBI

On Thursday locals gathered at Medlands Beach for a blessing, karakia and meditation. Photo / Vicky Kyan via Facebook

One of two boys who was buried under a collapsed sand dune on Aotea, Great Barrier Island has had his life support turned off.

The accident occurred on Sunday when the two boys were digging tunnels in the sand during a family picnic.

On Wednesday night a social media post by Logan Golaboski, the boy's father, confirmed the news.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we will say goodbye to our loved son Levi Sonchai Golaboski,” the statement read.

“We have all been feeling the love.”

Logan urged everyone to keep praying for Riley, the other boy who remains in critical condition at Starship.

Levi will return home to Aotea, Friday.

The community of Aotea, Great Barrier has banded together, and a Givealittle page has been created to support the families of the boys.

"The whole community of Great Barrier Island is devastated and banding together with solidarity and strength of love to support them," wrote Aroha McGeady, the creator of the page.

The Givealittle has already raised over $52,000.

On Thursday morning locals gathered at Medlands Beach for a blessing, karakia and meditation.

Locals' Response Praised

The two boys were flown by rescue helicopter to Starship Children’s Hospital at around 4 P.M. Sunday, in critical condition.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter teams praised around two dozen beachgoers, locals and emergency service teams who scrambled to dig the boys out.

One of the boys was able to be pulled out of the sand with the help of a vehicle. The other however was completely buried and was not breathing by the time he was recovered.

The sand banks on Medlands Beach suffered erosion of around a meter after high seas from Cyclone Gabrielle in February.

The erosion also resulted in the loss of vegetation that plays a vital role in stabilizing the dunes.

Parts of the dunes themselves were carved out as far back as 10 to 15 meters during the storm.

Some locals had expressed concerns about the degree of erosion on the community's social media page.

Public Interest Journalism