Fire service staff at the scene of a Te Puke orchard accident in which a man yesterday narrowly escaped being crushed to death under a tractor.

The 64-year-old was driving a tractor pulling a trailer laden with full kiwifruit bins when it flipped while travelling up a rise shortly after 1pm.

Maketu chief fire officer Shane Beech said the man received head injuries and cuts and bruises to the side of his body as he was thrown off, before the machine fell back on him.

"He was lying next to the tractor when we got there and was conscious but in a lot of pain. He had managed to get himself free."


The man was in a stable condition in Tauranga Hospital last night.

Two weeks ago, a 15-year-old fruit picker was critically injured when he was run over by a tractor in a Paengaroa orchard.

The Department of Labour is investigating both incidents.

"Tractor-related call-outs are always scary for us as they usually involve serious injuries," said Mr Beech, "and kiwifruit orchard tractors usually don't have cabins to protect them."