A trauma team has been called in to help students who have lost a classmate in a train accident outside a school in Matamata yesterday.

Zakariah Paul Lang, 15, died after stepping into the path of a southbound train about 3pm yesterday. He had been walking with two friends near the tracks.

Matamata College asked the Ministry of Education to send its trauma team to help students struggling to cope with the death of the year 11 student.

Board of trustees chairman Bret Williams said the team was assisting the college counselling team in supporting pupils and staff.


"Special rooms have been established for students to go to for support and to help them come to terms with the loss of one of the college's family."

He said Zakariah, also known as Zach, was a popular student who had a wide circle of friends.

"[He] was involved in a lot of school activities. Students are being encouraged to support each other and to look out for the welfare of their friends and colleagues."

Zach's friend Samara Smith-Riggir yesterday said he may have been wearing headphones when he stepped in front of the train, which heading to Kinleith from Hamilton.

"In class he usually had one earphone in so he could listen to music and to the teacher at the same time," said the 14-year-old.

Matamata Police Sergeant Graham McGurk said a post-mortem examination was being carried out today.

"The investigation into how this tragedy happened is continuing, as is an investigation by the train's operators and the boy's death has been reported to the coroner," Mr McGurk said.