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One dead in Waikato River incident

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/02/2017

The Waikato River (File). © Getty Images The Waikato River (File). One person has died after being swept down the Waikato River north of Taupo.

Police say the person - whom media have reported as an Auckland woman - was among a group of four friends.

The four, all in their early 20s, were swimming near the Aratiatia Dam on Monday.

The incident happened during one of the several times that the floodgates open each day and where there are signs warning of the danger and advising against swimming.

Sergeant Shane McNally says what happened around midday was a tragedy, with the dam opening, the water rising rapidly and the four being swept away.

Three of group managed to make it to the riverbank.

The body of the fourth person was found in the water and a police dive team was deployed to retrieve it.

"It is an area that is prone to a rapidly changing water level," Sgt McNally said.

"There are sirens that activate well before this, so as to their reason for being in the water at that time, that is still under investigation."

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