Thu, Jan 13, 2022 12:32 PM

Pulled lifeless from Tāhunanui Beach


Sara Hollyman

Steve Taylor was lucky to make it to 2022 after a relaxing swim turned into a near-death experience at Tāhunanui Beach.

Steve was swimming at the back beach on New Year’s Eve around lunchtime, as he does most days, when he almost drowned.

He says he was floating on his back with his head right back, eyes closed, fully relaxed, when a rogue wave filled his mouth with water.

Steve has epilepsy and it was thought he may have had a seizure, but he doesn’t believe that was the case.

“I always get prior warning before I have a seizure,” he says. “On 31 December, there was nothing.”

He says he was simply floating on his back with his mouth above the water.

“Before I knew it, I was taking a breath and a big wave came right over the top, it was a windy day and that’s where it got me.”

He inhaled water and turned over to try and put his foot down to stand up, but he had floated out to deeper water where it covered his head.

"I thought ‘shit’, and then I sunk.”

The next thing he remembers is waking up on the beach or in hospital - the experience is all still fuzzy.

Steve was told two fishermen pulled him unresponsive from the water and performed CPR until emergency services arrived.

A St John spokesperson says they were notified of the incident at 12.50pm on 31 December.

Three ambulances were sent and Steve was then treated and transported in a serious condition to Nelson Hospital.

Steve says he would like the opportunity to thank the pair who pulled him from the water.

“They saved my life. I’d like to thank them very much, give them a handshake or a hug.”

Steve says it’s not the closest he’s come to death, and it hasn’t deterred him from swimming at the beach daily.

Anyone who knows how Steve can contact the pair who saved him can email sara@topsouth

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