An Easter Weekend outing ended in a tragedy for a group of 12 Aucklanders as one of their mates fell into a waterfall and drowned.
Efforts to retrieve 28-year-old Ram Prasad Bade were unsuccessful. The accident occurred on Sunday, April 8, 2012 around 1220 pm at the at the Waikino Gorge waterfall, between Paeroa and Wahi.
Ram’s close associate Ravi Chandran said that the deceased was a keen photographer and got closer to the waterfall to take pictures.
“Ram was swimming with others from our group and was apparently pulled by the current as he got closer to the waterfall, apparently to take some pictures. He shouted three times, ‘Need help, help, help.’ We tried our best to save him but had to be rescued ourselves from the waterfall,” he said.
According to the New Zealand Herald, a police officer, with the help of some people, retrieved the body of the drowned man using a rope.
It quoted Inspector Ian Booker of the North Communications Centre as saying that a witness then dived down into the water to retrieve Mr Bade’s body while the rope was tied around the officer’s waist.
“He then tugged on the rope and dragged the deceased back to the bank. St John’s paramedics spent 30 to 40 minutes trying to revive Mr Bade. The secluded waterfall, which can been reached by a track from Waitawheta Road, was cordoned off for several hours while staff from the Westpac rescue helicopter and emergency services worked at the scene.”
Mr Bade arrived in New Zealand from his native Vijayawada in the South Indian State of Andhra four years ago. He completed his IT Level 5 course at Newton College. A resident of Mt Wellington, he was employed in Munchy Mart at the University of Auckland.
He was the eldest in a family of three children. His father Padmanabha Rao, mother Venkata Rama Devi, brother Sravan Kumar and sister Rajya Lakshmi live in Vijayawada.
Mr Chandra said Ram was soft-spoken, friendly and outgoing.
New Zealand Telugu Association Vice-President Devender Chendri, who coordinated efforts to have the body released and complete the formalities, acknowledged the support and assistance rendered by the New Zealand Police, the Indian High Commission in Wellington and Indian Newslink.
“It was the Easter weekend and yet they provided timely assistance,” he said.
The body has been flown to India to the family of the deceased.