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Plucky River Rescue Wins Hero’s Award

Media Release

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Plucky River Rescue Wins Hero’s Award

Warkworth cartage contractor Colin Roberts has been named Beaurepaires Highway Hero for 2006 for his rescue of a man from the Puhoi River north of Auckland.

He was one of seven nominees, all professional truck or bus drivers, who were recognised throughout the year for their selfless efforts to prevent injury or save the lives of others.

Sponsored by the Police, Beaurepaires, LTNZ and NZ Trucking Magazine, the winner was presented with a trophy and cheque for $5,000 by Minister of Road Safety, Harry Duynhoven.

Colin was working on a night shift late last summer hauling metal on SH1 to a roading project when he saw what he thought was a person floating down the river standing on a raft. It occurred to him as he travelled on that something wasn’t quite right so returned to investigate.

By the time he reached the spot, there was no sign of the person or a raft, only faint wheel tracks to the edge of the river but no other signs of an accident. He called out and received a faint reply but in the fading light had trouble locating a head bobbing near the bank.

Realising the person couldn’t lift their arms he jumped into the river and dragged the man out. The victim was in a bad way with an injured hip, shock and hypothermia. Colin returned to his truck for some dry clothes for the victim and called the emergency services before returning to try to warm the victim and stop him from drifting into unconsciousness.

Eventually they were located by police and emergency services and the 51 year old victim made a complete recovery.

The accident occurred when the man’s four wheel drive left the road. He had managed to get onto the roof through the sun roof but the shock of the accident hit him as the vehicle slowly sank. It was eventually located and recovered by a Navy dive team.

Now in its seventh year, Beaurepaires Highway Heroes programme recognises brave, heroic or humanitarian deeds performed by professional truck or bus drivers in the course of their work. Anyone can nominate a hero through www.highway-heroes.co.nz or highway-heroes@xtra.co.nz.


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