A woman hit by a train near Otamarakau yesterday "froze" as it hurtled towards her.

Senior Sergeant Malcolm Collins said the woman was part of a group working on a bend near a railway bridge about 10.30am, near Otamarakau Marae , when the train came around the corner.

"Most of the people ran from the area but the female froze and was hit by the train and knocked into the water," he said.

Mr Collins said other people from the group pulled the woman out of the Waitahanui Stream. She sustained minor injuries and was taken to Whakatane Hospital. She was discharged just before 4pm yesterday.


Otamarakau Sandpit Group Stopover campsite caretaker Colin Campbell was working nearby when the accident happened and said he heard the horn of the train going for "ages and ages", before it came to a stop about 400m from the start of the campsite.

Department of Conservation spokesman Rory Newsam said the woman was from a local community group that assisted DOC.

"We're obviously concerned for her wellbeing, and are working with KiwiRail and members of the community."

A KiwiRail spokesman said the train driver would be offered counselling and time off work.

"We do not know why the person was on the tracks but KiwiRail urges the public to stay well clear of the rail line."