Man in scooter tragedy named

By Doug Laing -
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Franklin Long. Photo/File
Franklin Long. Photo/File

Police have released the name of a Napier man who was found dead in a cross-town drain during the Easter weekend, after a mishap while riding a mobility scooter.

He was 70-year-old Franklin Winston Long, who lived in Bedford Rd, Marewa.

He and the upturned scooter were discovered soon after 10am on Friday, about 50 metres apart and in an open drain beside a concrete path between Latham St and the Marewa Walkway. The walkway connects Onekawa and Marewa, between Riverbend and Russell roads.

It was thought he had been in the drain since early on Thursday night. Police investigated the scene throughout Saturday and said later the death was not regarded as suspicious. A woman walking her dog as the weather cleared after heavy overnight rain is understood to have seen the scooter in the shallow stream, down a bank beside a path commonly used by mobility scooters.

When Hawke's Bay Today arrived at the scene, a red scooter could be seen from Latham St, draped with weed, indicating it may have been submerged by stormwater during heavy rain on Thursday night.

The body was out of sight. It was found beyond a bend and less than 50m downstream, near a pre-school centre at the EFKS church (formerly Michael's Place).

Hawke's Bay Today talked to a number residents who lived near Mr Long's home. They did not want to be named but said he kept to himself a lot.

It is understood Mr Long lost a leg as a result of injuries received in a crash on the Napier to Taupo road a few years ago.

Greypower secretary and area city councillor Maxine Boag, who was unaware of details, said it was a tragic incident and she felt for the family of the man.

It seemed probable there was little anyone could have done to have prevented what had happened but it was a timely reminder to families to keep in contact with their elderly parents and grandparents, she said.

Hawke's Bay Today's Facebook page has been inundated with condolence messages for Mr Long.

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