UNDATED (CNN) -- A 12-year-old boy says he thought he was going to die before being saved from treacherous surf at a popular tourist spot after rescuers formed a human chain to pluck him from the water at Napier's marine parade beach.
Rescuers race towards pounding surf, lost in that white water is twelve year old Josh McQuoid seconds away from drowning. He says, "When I was in there I thought I was going to die"
He'd been playing at the water's edge with a mate when a wave caught them and dragged josh under. He says, "The waves smashed me so much, there were five really big ones, they flipped me around quite a few times, I was underwater, I think the longest for about twenty seconds."
Dragged 150 meters along the beach, he was fighting for air for eight long minutes. Josh says, "Like being in a washing machine you know...just boom, boom, boom"
The alarm was raised by Josh's friend and Constable Paul Bailey diving into the waves. He says, "I lost grip about three times of Josh, and was just panicking and frantic to get it back, and a few times under the waves I was thinking have I done the right thing charging in here, is it going to be two bodies they're looking for."
His colleague was thinking fast to prevent the unfolding double tragedy. Bryan Farquharson says, "I could see other people up on the shore line, and I started yelling come help us, come help us, form a human chain."
And that human chain pulled Josh and his rescuers to safety. Josh says, "I'd love to thank them so much for what they did, they saved my life, if it wasn't for them I'd be dead"
Josh's father Shane McQuoid says, "When I saw the footage... I couldn't believe how close he had come to you know, actually dying."
Josh was revived by members of the public and taken to Napier Hospital. Josh is one of the lucky ones. Eleven people have drowned off beaches this summer and last year one person drowned in a rescue attempt.
Josh and his dad went back to the scene, this time at a safe distance, and urging all beach-goers to learn from their brush with tragedy.