Devastated parents of drowned Queenstown toddler make statement

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The devastated parents of a toddler who drowned in Lake Wakatipu yesterday have released a short statement on the tragedy.

Parents Andrew and Alana Waples, of Kelvin Heights released a statement this afternoon shortly after police named the two-year-old as Violet Elisabeth Waples.

“Yesterday our beautiful daughter Violet Elisabeth Waples passed away,” the statement reads.

“We are absolutely devastated.

“We would like to thank the police, Coastguard and St John Ambulance as well as our neighbours and community for their amazing response.

“We are surrounded by family and friends and are blown away by the love that is being sent our way from near and far.

“Thank you for your prayers.”

Funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed for Violet, who was 34 months old. 

Both parents are pastors at Frankton’s C3 Church. Andrew Waples works as a builder.

The couple have three other children.

Police were called to Peninsula Road in Kelvin Heights shortly after midday yesterday after Alana Waples reported her daughter had wandered off and couldn’t be located.

Officers found Violet lying face down in the lake at 12.45pm – about 100 metres from where she had been last seen.

In spite of the best attempts at CPR by both Police and St John Ambulance she did not regain consciousness.

Queenstown police’s senior sergeant John Fookes says: “There are a number of private jetties and shoreline vegetation such as trees and shrubs in the vicinity where the child was found.

“The matter has now been referred to the coroner and the child’s family is being supported by friends, relatives and Victim Support.”