Biker risked life to save trio stuck on motorway

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Elliot Ikilei.
Elliot Ikilei.

When Elliot Ikilei spotted a small car broken down on the fast lane of a busy Auckland motorway, he knew he had to help get its occupants out fast.

The Papakura 36-year-old was travelling on his motorbike on the Southwestern Motorway near Hillsborough in August when he saw a car parked awkwardly on the roadway.

It was 8pm and he could make out three figures sitting inside.

"I stopped and basically pulled out the driver and yelled at her to get the other two members out immediately.

"There were cars coming past us and I knew we had to get them to the side of the road."

Mr Ikilei, a tutor for Best Pacific Institute, managed to get the driver and her passengers onto the side of the road - all the while trying to alert and slow down oncoming traffic.

"I was waving and yelling, 'Stop, stop!' There were lots of cars that screeched on the brakes. It was pretty dangerous."

After making sure the family were in a safe position, Mr Ikilei took his motorbike - with the hazard lights on - and placed it a few metres behind the car so motorists would see both.

"The power had gone out for some reason and it was very dark. I thought if I put [the bike] there, it would alert people quicker."

A few minutes after he moved the family to the side of the road, a truck smashed into Mr Ikilei's motorbike and the back of the car - totalling the bike and severely damaging the car.

Police said Mr Ikilei's actions certainly saved the trio from serious injury or even death.

Yesterday, he was among 90 people honoured at a ceremony at Eden Park for their bravery. The police Auckland metropolitan area awards cover incidents that occurred in the Waitemata, Counties Manukau and Auckland Central regions.

Like many of those dubbed heroes yesterday, Mr Ikilei brushed it off, saying: "I was just doing what I had to do at the time. Anyone else would have done the same."

As for the motorbike, he said he had been contemplating replacing it, but had not done so yet.

"The wife was like, 'No more motorbike for you.' That was it'."

Bravery awards

Senior Constable Tony Feasey, dog handler: Convinced a suicidal man to hand himself in quietly after he shot another man in the head. Mr Feasey was praised for building a rapport with the man, in his 20s.

Constable Emma Lawrence: Ms Lawrence was called to a late-night crash in Mt Eden after a car had driven into a bedroom - where a couple and their 7-week-old baby slept. The baby was not breathing and Ms Lawrence managed to dislodge a piece of concrete from the child's airway before an ambulance arrived.

David Insull, of Christchurch: While getting fuel from a petrol station, he intervened in a fight between two people. One had been savagely beaten about the head and body. Mr Insull protected the victim until emergency services arrived.

Lynn Hagger, of the North Shore: Ran to a neighbour's house after hearing screaming, only to find a man who had choked on food and was not breathing. Mrs Hagger performed CPR before medical staff arrived.

Jonathan Sa'u, of South Auckland: The 17-year-old was woken by the sound of a car crashing. In his pyjamas and in bare feet, he ran out and saw a woman running from the scene. He ran after her and convinced her to return.

- NZ Herald

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