Crash rescuer tells of cry for help

By Amy Shanks, Doug Laing


A Raupunga man who helped rescue a well-known Wairoa couple from their crashed station wagon in rain near Wairoa on Friday night has clear memories of the driver's pleas.

"He was in shock, and he was saying, 'can you get my wife out, is she alright'," shearing contractor Boy Culshaw said yesterday as he recalled coming across the State Highway 2 crash about 8km south of Wairoa, between Cricklewood and Kiwi Valley roads.

Inside were Wairoa man Mike Metz, 85, and his wife, Joke (pronounced Yoka). Mrs Metz was trapped, but apparently not badly injured, in the front passenger seat with her head wedged between the seat and the underside of the vehicle as it lay on its side cradled on a fence after leaving the road while travelling towards Wairoa.

Mr Culshaw, who had just left Raupunga with wife Ngaire and two grandchildren for Matariki celebrations in Wairoa, said that when they arrived three or four other vehicles had already stopped. Mr Culshaw squeezed into the Subaru to free the man.

Police, fire and ambulance officers were just arriving as Mr Metz was freed.

Deputy volunteer fire chief Barry Gasson said rescuers had to "secure" the vehicle to a fire truck to prevent it toppling and further injuring Mrs Metz.

Constable Jonathan Yuile, of Wairoa Police, said Mrs Metz was flown to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter and Mr Metz was taken by St John Ambulance to Wairoa Hospital.

He was discharged but readmitted while visiting his wife in Hastings. Late yesterday, Mrs Metz was reported to be in a serious condition and Mr Metz was in a stable condition.

Meanwhile, a Hastings woman was airlifted to Hutt Valley Hospital with serious head injuries after her car left the road in icy conditions near Norsewood on Saturday morning.

Police believe the 28-year-old had been heading toward Dannevirke when the dark blue Daihatsu she was driving slipped across the centre line and into a ditch about 7am.

Norsewood Volunteer Fire Brigade was called to help extract her from the wrecked vehicle and marshal the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter into a safe pick-up location.

She was stabilised on-site by a St John advanced paramedic before being airlifted directly to hospital, where she received treatment for serious lacerations to her head.

By the time police arrived, the woman had been removed from the scene. They were yet to speak with her about what may have caused the crash.

"I haven't been able to contact her since. When I called the hospital she was in theatre," Norsewood officer in charge Brett Wakelin said.

"What we had to go on were tyre marks on the road. It was also a very cold morning [on Saturday] and the roads were very icy - we are still continuing to investigate the accident."

Judging by a lack of severe damage to the car, it was unlikely she had been driving at speed, Dannevirke Constable Gary McKernon added.

"Until we talk to her we don't know exactly what happened. We are not even sure how long she was there before we arrived."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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