Support flows for rescuers after fatal crash

By Peter de Graaf


A Kerikeri man has launched an appeal for the town's volunteer firefighters and ambulance officers in the wake of a horror crash.


Emergency services battled to free a driver from the wreckage of his cab for two-and-a-half hours in bitter cold, wind and rain on Tuesday after two trucks collided on Kerikeri Rd, only for him to die as he was about to be carried to the rescue helicopter.


Debriefings were held for Kerikeri and Paihia firefighters on Tuesday night. The volunteers have been offered counselling if they need it.


Kerikeri resident Jason Christensen said he was prompted to start the fundraiser after hearing news of the crash that morning.


''All those guys were out there in the freezing rain and wind, trying to save someone. They do it for free, and I wanted to do something to say thank you to them for being there when our community needed it most,'' he said.


''They deal with horrendous situations, sometimes involving people they know. Their employers allow them this time off work and we acknowledge the support of these businesses also.''


Following discussions with St John Kerikeri manager Nick Scott the money raised would likely be used for a fun day out for volunteers of both services and their families. The appeal raised $180 in its first day and runs until Friday, June 7.


Money is being collected via the Angel Project charitable trust and a collection bucket at Noel Leeming in Waipapa.


Donations to the Kiwibank account of The Angel Project-NZ, number 38-9014-0325165-00. Use the reference ''Ambo''.


Meanwhile, a post on the Advocate's Facebook page paying tribute to the volunteers at Tuesday's crash has attracted more than 18,000 views and 50 comments as of Thursday morning. Those comments included:


Kelly Jack: Incredible people doing amazing things for others, thank you x.


Lynda White: You guys do a great job and often unrecognised, but us mere mortals do appreciate it.


Donna Smith: I'm a proud wife and mum of three volunteer firemen. The incidents they attend can be horrific at times, but others do have a lucky outcome. Yes all volunteers do a brilliant job and without their willing help we'd be right in the pooh so thank you heaps!


Mardi A Paul: Ae whanau tautoki nga korero. My daughter helps her tane, she's been on a few fatals now in the last month. Great prayers go out to all services volunteers that put themselves at risk to help others. God bless you all.


Robyn Grey: My other half was on TC (traffic control) there today and was overwhlemed with the support from some of the local shop owners taking hot coffee and food to them. What a sad loss for a family.

- Northern Advocate

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