The fish and chip shop owner who pulled an elderly man from Nelson Haven on Monday morning says he’ll “fall apart” if he was to meet his family.
“I just feel so bad for them. He went out for a walk and they’d be wondering way he didn’t come back. It’s just horrible,” says Roy Gray, co-owner of The Sands Fish & Chip shop.
Roy was driving with his partner Bruce Maxfield to Nelson along Rocks Rd at about 10.15am when Roy spotted a body floating in the water. He pointed it out to Bruce who, at first, didn’t believe him.
“When we were driving to the bank I said to Bruce, ‘there’s a body floating in the water’, and he said, ‘bull&^%$’ but I could see it because it was out about 15 or 20 feet so I reversed up about 10 feet, slammed the brakes on and jumped out. I rang triple one and handed Bruce the phone and said, ‘we’ve got to get in there and try and get him out’, but they said ‘no, wait until police are there’.”
He and an officer then pulled the body out of the water but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Roy says the man was recently in his fish and chip shop and says he was “a beautiful man”“I remember him coming in the shop two or three days ago and just having a wee chat with him, like I do with everyone who comes in, but when something like this happens that face sticks in your mind.
“I really just don’t know what to say, it’s sort of hard to put into words really but it will probably stay with me for a day or a few and hopefully his family come in and I’ll probably lose the plot when they do.”
Roy says he went back to the location of the incident at low tide to try and find some ID. “I spent over an hour and a half looking right around the rocks and where he fell in, and I found what might be his sunglasses. I couldn’t find a wallet or any other sign of ID which is a shame.”
Police are appealing for information from the public. If you saw anything unusual at around 10.15-10.20am please call police on 546 3840.