Families return to mark lake tragedy

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There was no ice on little Lake Emma as the rose petals drifted down.

Sixty years ago last Friday, the lake was heavy with ice, and men were fighting for their lives in holes in the ice, and others were trying to save them.

On that day, four men drowned – Hunter George Murdoch, Kenneth Henry Hampton, Allan Millin and Bernard Cordy.

They had been part of a party of around 50 on a goose shoot.

The tragedy began when men went out on to the ice to try to rescue wounded geese.

Last week, families of the drowned men returned to the lake to pay their respects and to remember the heroism of people like Warren Hart and Joe (Joseph) Linton.

Mr Linton’s daughter, Polly Darrell, said she recalled her father being in bed for a fortnight after the rescue bid, and that he lost a lot of skin from his chest as he scrambled on the ice to try to save men.

The families will return in October or November to erect a plaque, and thanked the Department of Conservation for permission to erect it.

Mr Murdoch also thanked those who went to the lake, and those who helped arrange for a plaque to be put up.

The group stayed at the lake for an hour, took turns at tossing petals on to the lake, then adjourned to Hakatere Corner for a private catch-up.