Neighbour: 'nothing more could be done' at Katikati crash scene

Add a comment
Dawson Rd resident Kevin Ward, who ran to the scene of the crash, said it was clear nothing else could be done. Photo/George Novak
Dawson Rd resident Kevin Ward, who ran to the scene of the crash, said it was clear nothing else could be done. Photo/George Novak

Dawson Rd resident Kevin Ward, who lived only a few metres from the crash site, was at home with his partner Chona Mangasep, who had just finished her shift at the cool store, when they heard an "almighty bang" and then total silence.

"I knew straight away it was really bad," Mr Ward said.

He rushed outside to the car and could see three bodies inside and another lying underneath it but could not see a fifth person inside the vehicle, and after shining his torch into the car he saw no signs of life, and immediately rang 111.

The three people dead inside the car were the driver, the front seat passenger and a man seated in the rear, but he could not see anyone else seated behind the driver, he said.

Read more: Emotions raw as crash victims remembered

Mr Ward said most of side of the car was missing.

"It looked to me that the car must have bounced off the truck and shot up the bank, and it was clear the driver's side of the car had taken the full force of the impact. It looked like it had concertinaed. It was quite a devastating scene."

Mr Ward said when he returned to the car after calling the emergency services, he found someone holding up the driver's head and trying to comfort them.

"I told them there was no point as he was already gone."

Mr Ward said other people then started arriving and were also trying to comfort the occupants of the car.

"But it was clear there was nothing more that could be done."

Mr Ward said it was a "horrific and emotional" scene as other members of other Pacific Islands community began arriving, and it became clear that all the victims worked at the cool store.

A traumatised Ms Mangasep said she was afraid to go to the crash site because she could hear people crying and weeping.

"When I realised the dead men were all my work colleagues I was devastated," she said.

Mr Ward said something needed to done to improve the stretch of road.

"This is not the first death on this road and it won't be the last," he said.

"I have seen lots of crashes on this stretch of road. I think they need to remove some trees to help improve the visibility, and we also need a dedicated right turning lane near this intersection, as you can't always clearly see southbound traffic, especially at night, until the vehicle is almost upon you."

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 29 Oct 2016 13:45:12 Processing Time: 17ms