Waihī Beach drowning: Charges laid after Hamilton student’s death

WorkSafe has laid charges after a Hamilton high school student drowned on a school trip to Waihī Beach.

Jaden Chhayrann, 17, got caught in a rip while going for a swim on a geography trip with his Melville High School class on February 21 last year.

Despite a teacher’s valiant efforts to rescue him, Jaden was swept out to sea.

His body was found nearly 30km north near Whiritoa Beach on March 1.

WorkSafe today confirmed that charges had been laid against parties over Jaden’s death.

“WorkSafe has filed charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) over a health and safety incident at Waihi Beach in February last year, in which a student went missing while on a school trip and is presumed to have drowned.”

WorkSafe wouldn’t be drawn on who had been charged or which charges under the Act they faced.

Meanwhile, the school’s plan to hold a memorial for Jaden last month had to be cancelled because of level 2 restrictions due to Covid-19.

The school posted on its Facebook page of a plan to hold the service on February 28 after which a memorial seat – built by his classmates – would be unveiled.

Jaden had earlier been described by friends as “such a sweetheart to everyone”.

“He always seemed to make everyone laugh and smile,” Christine Moeun told the Herald last year.

“He was definitely one of the guys I love being around, he was always happy and so funny.”

Jaden loved listening to music, spending time with friends, playing video games and was a fast runner.

Waihī Beach was not patrolled by lifeguards at the time Jaden got into difficulty, but lifeguard teams from Waihī Beach and Whangamatā were called to help with the search for him.

The search lasted several days and was eventually pulled before his body was finally found.

In a statement, Melville High School principal Clive Hamill said: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment as this matter is before the courts. However, what I can acknowledge is that as a school community we have been thinking of Jaden and his family, and especially during this time of the first anniversary of his passing.”

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