Melancholy Case of Drowning in Wakanui Creek.
To-day an inquest was held in the Royal Hotel on the body of John Hurley, a laborer in the employ of D. Fitzgerald, Wakanui, who had been drowned in the Wnkanui Creek while bathing on Saturday afternoon. Dr. Trevor was coroner, and Mr. John Fowler was elected foreman of the jury. John Scanlon, ploughman in the employ of D. Fitzgerald, said he knew the deceased John Hurley, who was working for Fitzgerald. On Saturday, deceased and I went to bathe in the Wakanui Creek, just below Morris’ old sheep dip. The water where we wont in reached a little over our knees. I called out to him, “ If you can’t swim, don’t go into deep water.” He half laughed. T remained washing myself in the shallow water. In about a quarter of an hour or so I missed him; got out on the bank and called out to him. I ran round the old chimney, and when I looked at the deep pool, I saw' bubbles rising to the surface. This w’ould be about twenty-five yards. I jumped into the water, but could see nothing of him. I can swim and dive, and I did both. I got a horse and a chain and roj e and dragged the hole, but without success. This would be about half past five. I was present when Constable Neill found the body yesterday, in the hole where I saw the bubbles. The face of the body is blacker now than when I saw it come out of the w'ater. Ido not know whether deceased could swim. I showed the constable where the deceased went in. The water was not particularly cold. Constable Neill went with Constable Trevollyan to the lower Wakanui yesterday with a drag to search for a body. The hist witness pointed out where he had last seen deceased in the creek, and where he got in. There was about four feet of water in the creek where the man was last seen. I walked down the creek until I came to a ledge, where there were about six inches of mud. Beside this mud lodge, the water is twelve or thirteen feet deep, and I fell into this hole, by slipping in the mud. Had I not been a good swimmer, I would not have been able to get out. I then made a raft, dragged this hole, and found the body in it, in about ten feet of water. This would be about twenty yards from where the ledge I have referred to occurred, and about twenty-five or thirty yards from where deceased first took the water. The creek is about twenty-five yards; wide there. The constable produced some valuables which he had taken from the clothes of deceased. The place where the drowning happened is near the junction of Moffat’s millrace with the creek, and a sort of, undercurrent runs strongly at the place. The Coroner said that, from the evidence, it would be seen that the case was palpably ope of accidental drowning; and, witlrout calling njore witnesses, the jury returned a yerdict—“ Tfyat t/’,e man’ accidentally drowned ylqlp bathing,’* ■ ; “ I
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