"Everyone is grieving".
Those were the words of a Te Puke sawmill boss who is mourning the loss of two employees in less than two weeks.
A 66-year-old Tauranga man died in Waikato Hospital on Tuesday after being involved a crash on the Te Puke Highway, between Manoeka Rd and Collins Lane, early that day. He was cycling and crashed with a car. A St John spokeswoman said the driver and occupants of the car were uninjured.
Pukepine Sawmills general manager Jeff Tanner confirmed the man was an employee at the Te Puke company.
"He has worked for us for more than 30 years," Tanner said. "He was a highly valued staff member who had a beautiful family."
Tanner said the man was a senior employee who worked in the export area of the company preparing containers and units for shipping.
He was a well-respected member of the team and maintained a healthy lifestyle.
"Rain, hail or shine, he would cycle to work," he said. "He was extremely fit and looked after himself very well."
The company has lost two employees in less than two weeks.
The Te Puke company was already mourning the loss of kiln supervisor Darel Barton, 49, who died on March 28 from injuries he received during a workplace accident.
"We are absolutely shell-shocked to be honest," Tanner said. "We are very saddened by the news."
Tanner said the staff had been offered counselling support for the last week following Barton's death and were now coming to terms with losing a second colleague and friend.
"Everyone is grieving," he said. "Everyone grieves in different ways and people have pulled together to support each other."
Brayden Neketai witnessed Tuesday's crash.
He was late heading to work from Te Puke at 4.40am on Tuesday and said he saw a car travelling towards him that made him check his mirror.
But what he saw he will not ever forget.
"It had crashed into a fence and started smoking a bit. I then turned around and zoomed back to find a cyclist lying in the middle of the left-hand lane not moving at all," he said.
"I freaked out for a second not knowing what to do but I knew I needed to get this man off the road as cars were still driving past.
"I gently pulled him off the road on to the grass and put him on his side."
Neketai said he then called the police and helped the cyclist stay still and calm while he waited for emergency services to arrive.
"I was shocked and speechless really because I see that man bike to work every morning and to see him lying on the side of the road was a fright for me."
In the wake of the incident, Neketai hoped whānau would think before they acted and keep the advice from police in their minds.
"At the end of the day everyone has family and everyone wants their family to come home safely."
Police inquiries were ongoing and any witnesses or people with information were asked to contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300.
The incident comes just a week after a fatal crash outside Affco Rangiuru on Te Puke Highway killing 21-year-old Manepo Tapsell-Wafer.
The Maketū-born man died instantly when his car and a van collided about 5.40pm last Tuesday. The van driver, a man in his 40s, is in hospital with moderate injuries.