Phones still out after lightning a week ago

By zaryd.wilson@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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Photo/File
Photo/File

Phones in Ruatiti were still out yesterday afternoon, nearly a week after a lightning strike cut the system to up to 30 households.

The amount of damage to infrastructure in the area and further lightning strikes were hampering repair efforts.

"We have been working as hard as we possibly can to repair the fault but there have been a number of challenges, including further lightning strikes," Chorus spokesman Nathan Beaumont said.

"The initial lightning strikes that did the damage were so severe that the parts of the network were completely destroyed, including antennae, batteries and electrical equipment."

Chorus said staff had been dropped on site by helicopter yesterday in an effort to restore the network by the end of the day.

"We also take the safety of our staff very seriously and when there was still lightning strikes in the area it was simply not safe to put staff in potentially dangerous situations.

"Getting access to the site, which is in quite a remote location, has also been problematic."

Mr Beaumont said he apologised to those affected by the outage.

"We are just as frustrated when something like this happens and work as quickly as we possibly can to get the network back up and running."

Ruatiti resident Winston Oliver said some people had been told it would be next Tuesday before the phones were fixed.

"We think there's been a terrible lack of communication," Mr Oliver said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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