Man dies in tractor incident

By Sonya Bateson


An Opotiki man in his 70s has died from injuries sustained when he was caught in mowing machinery he was helping repair.

Police were alerted to the fatality on the grounds of Opotiki College about 3pm yesterday.

Police said the victim was a local man in his 70s who had been helping with repairs on mowing equipment belonging to the college when he was caught in the machinery, leading to fatal injuries.

The man's name is expected to be released today, once all of his next of kin have been advised.

There are no suspicious circumstances relating to the death. The Department of Labour had been advised and the matter was to be referred to the Coroner.

When The Daily Post arrived yesterday afternoon, the scene was cordoned off, police officers were there and members of the public had gathered nearby.

A tractor was right at the boundary fence of the back fields of Opotiki College.

A tarpaulin covered the rear of the tractor.

The back fields of Opotiki College run along the whole of Buchanan St. Both ends of the street were cordoned off.

A group of between 10-20 people had gathered on Buchanan St, near the tractor.

A police car was at each end of Buchanan St and about five police officers were at the scene. A hearse drove on to the Opotiki College fields at about 5.20pm.

Soon after, the large group of people walked on to the school grounds and were seen bowing their heads while police officers stood with their hands in front of them. The hearse left the school at about 5.45pm.

Fire Northern Communications shift manager Megan Ruru said the fire service was also called to help ambulance staff at about 3pm after being told a man was trapped under a tractor at the school on Buchanan St. She said when the fire service responded, the man was dead and police took over.

A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokeswoman said the ministry had been informed of the incident and were making preliminary inquiries at the scene.

Three teenaged boys, who were in the area at the time, told The Daily Post they knew the victim and he lived in a house near the school grounds.

The cordons were still in place until at least 6pm yesterday.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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