Distressed swimmer was a seal

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The Police, Nelson Surf Life Saving Club, the Coastguard and a helicopter were called to the Port last night in search of a seal.

Police said an informant on the Port Hills called in at 7:30, saying there was a swimmer in the water near the entrance to the Cut, being dragged out to sea and calling for help.

An hour later, another member of the public came forward, saying they saw a seal in the same location during the same time.

At 8 pm, the three search boats hadn’t reported any sightings of the swimmer so a helicopter was called in to join the search.

With the light fading, the search was called off at 9 pm, police coming to the conclusion that the swimmer was, in fact, a seal.

Nelson Live reporter, Brittany Spencer was one of the lifeguards involved in the search.

“We had just returned from guarding the Port Nelson Sea Swims when two police cars pulled up to the ramp and asked us to start a search for the swimmer.”

Brittany says the search boats cast a large search area but didn’t see anything except a pair of seals.

“The water was freezing and would have fatigued a swimmer quite quickly so I’m glad it was a seal rather than a person in the water for that long.”

Nelson Surf Life Saving Club Captain Aaron Lyttle says, “It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry in these cases.”