Who Was Jonathan Jordan Young? A man drowned trying to save a child in Lake Wakatipu

Jonathan Jordan Young, an Australian, has been identified as the victim of a water-related incident in Otago’s Lake Wakatipu after another man passed there less than a week earlier. Let’s see about it in detail.

Who Was Jonathan Jordan Young?

Jonathan Jordan Young, a 35-year-old NSW national, was an Australian who died while trying to save a child in a lake on New Zealand’s South Island.

Central Otago Lakes District Superintendent Inspector Paula Enoka said the man’s parents and brother had come from Australia to support the fiancee.

According to a police spokeswoman, around 4 p.m. Thursday, officers and an ambulance crew received a call that someone was in distress in the water at the head of the lake, near a reserve. LandSAR volunteers, boaters, a helicopter and other swimmers assisted in the search.

Divers were invited and they worked from Dart River Adventures jet boat. Before the morning installation of three new signs by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, flowers were placed along the lakeshore. Warning signs warn drivers of various hazards at the lake, such as a steep drop-off near the beach, a strong undertow and unstable ground.

Police divers, citizens and a helicopter searched for him, and his parents, brother and fiancee watched as they searched for him.

The body of Jonathan Jordan Young was recovered by the New Zealand Police Dive Team on Friday. (DEBBIE JAMIESON/THINGS)

However, 24 hours passed before divers found his body. Young, who was visiting New Zealand with his fiancee, had only been there three days when he died. His brother and father flew to New Zealand when the search began and were present when his body was found.

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According to authorities, Young was helping a child who was in the water when he himself was in danger, a situation that was identical to the one that led to the death at the same location.

Witness statements

According to witnesses, what happened yesterday afternoon was a repeat of what happened last Friday. A young child was in trouble near the mouth of the River Rees and Jonathan Young was one of three people who came to the rescue. Both the child and the other two rescuers made it to land.

The young man was having fun with his family on a large sandbar by the river. The three rescuers – a woman and two men – were considered by witnesses to be “good Samaritans” who had no connection with the distressed young man. One witness described the experience as “sad to watch”.

After the death last week, a Glenorchy resident said, the small community had discussed the need for an official sign to warn the public, but nothing had been done about it. Near the jetty there was a steep drop of approximately 45 degrees and a drop of 21 meters.

The area north of the jetty was considered “treacherous” due to the eddies near the mouth of the River Rees which could sweep up unsuspecting swimmers.

Flowers were left on the lakeshore after last week’s passing. (Tracy Roxburgh)


After that death, the Queenstown Lakes District Council ordered new signs warning people of the “multiple dangers of the lake”, but they were not put up until Friday, the day after Young was lost in the water.

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Nicky Gladding, a councilor for the Queenstown Lakes District and originally from Glenorchy, said angry and upset locals were still patrolling the popular beach to warn visitors of any potential dangers.

She said,

“We noticed that people come here, they don’t understand the level of danger and risk,”

“The undertow is at a point that is completely calm. It looks so benign.

After Linkin Keesling drowned in Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy, the Queenstown Lakes District Council decided new warning signs were needed. Sadly, they were completed and put in place on Friday, one day after another swimmer died in the same spot. (Source: Debbie Jamieson)

Gladding claims the new signs are not effective enough and that until new ones are put up, locals will continue to patrol the area.

She said,

“The general idea is to keep everyone out of the water right now,”

“We just can’t take another death.”

“No Swimming”

Locals in Glenorchy took matters into their own hands before the council’s new signs were put up to warn visitors of the dangerous swimming spot, and produced a handmade sign with the clear message: ‘No Swimming’.

There was a public gathering on Friday afternoon as local residents questioned whether more could be done to stop the second death.

John Glover, chairman of the Glenorchy Community Association, claimed the neighborhood was “to some extent killing itself”.

“Should we have done more? Recording last week? Should we have waited for the council to do it?’

Reports of drowning deaths in Lake Wakatipu

The drowning is the latest in a season of horrors for New Zealand, which has seen 91 drowning deaths, the most since 2011.

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Lake Wakatipu Photo: 123rf.

The third such unsupervised beach tragedy this month occurred in Australia last week when a father died while trying to save his daughter from the waves on the NSW north coast.

During the Christmas and New Year holiday season in NSW, lifeguards rescued more than 1200 beachgoers in just seven days, prompting Surf Life Saving NSW to urge swimmers to stay between the flags.


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