Northland speedway crash inquest underway

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The family of a teenager killed in a speedway crash in the Far North has criticised race organisers for a lack of medical personnel and equipment during the meet.

A two-day inquest into the death of 15-year-old Tauranga student Samantha Body-Mouat at the Kaikohe Speedway got under way before Northland coroner Brandt Shortland in Whangarei this morning.

Samantha's mother Lisa Strydom said from where she was sitting and from what she could hear, the situation in terms of accessing medical attention in case of an accident during the races on April 3, 2010, was in shambles.

Ms Strydom said she vividly remembered someone saying there was no first aid kit, breathing tube or neck brace available at the race venue when she enquired, shortly after her daughter crashed her mini stock car into a concrete wall.

She said the first time she saw any medical equipment was when St John Ambulance paramedics arrived at the scene.

Volunteer firefighter Michael Sparrow, who helped the race organisers and was the first to attend to Samantha after the crash, said it seemed "hours and hours and hours" before an ambulance arrived 10 minutes after being called and Samantha Body-Mouat was put on to a stretcher.

Mr Sparrow said a lot of people were talking but he tried to be level-headed and managed the situation as best as he could before St John arrived.

Earlier, the coroner said the purpose of the inquest was not to apportion blame on anyone but to see how best everyone could learn from the tragedy.

(proceeding)

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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