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Logging Truck Driver Named 2004 Highway Hero

Thu, 2 Dec 2004

Logging Truck Driver Named 2004 Highway Hero

Greg, Tanya and Hon Duynhoven.jpg - Beaurepaires Highway Hero winner Greg Pearce with his partner Tanya Norris and Minister for Transport Safety, Hon Harry Duynhoven, at the presentation of the Beaurepaires Highway Hero Award

A Tokoroa logging truck driver who twice saved a man's life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before using the crane gear on his truck to clear a landing space for the rescue helicopter, has been named this year's Beaurepaires Highway Hero.

Greg Pearce was presented with the award and a $5,000 cheque by the Minister for Transport, Harry Duynhoven at Parliament today.

Greg was driving his truck along SH 30 near Mangakino on December 30 last year when he came across an accident that had just happened. In wet conditions a car driver had lost control and slammed into a bank. The two front seat passengers, wearing seat belts had survived with minor accidents but the man in the rear seat was not wearing a belt and suffered serious head injuries in the impact.

A volunteer fireman for 11 years, Greg immediately put his first aid training to work, checked for a pulse, found none and applied mouth to moth resuscitation. The victim started breathing again so Greg left him to go to his truck to call an ambulance.

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On returning the man's pulse had disappeared so he again applied mouth-to-mouth. Realising just how seriously the man was injured he went back to his truck to call for a rescue helicopter to airlift the man to hospital. The request was only agreed to after he convinced the despatcher that he had been a fireman for 11 years and had seen a lot of head trauma and injuries.

By the time he went back to the crashed car for the third time another motorist had stopped to help, but Greg said that disappointingly a further 15 vehicles had driven right on past.

Realising the helicopter was going to have trouble landing when it got to the scene, he drove his self loading truck onto a nearby patch of scrub and bushes and used the crane to clear a landing pad for the helicopter.

By that time the ambulance had arrived and Greg used its GPS system to direct the helicopter to the site. The man was safely removed to hospital and subsequently recovered.

The Beaurepaires Highway Heroes programme, now in its eighth year, recognises humanitarian, brave or heroic deeds by professional truck, coach or bus drivers during the course of their work for the benefit of other road users. The winner receives a trophy and $5000 cash and the person who nominates the winner will receive a set of four new car tyres fitted and balanced by Beaurepaires valued up to $600. Last year's winner was Bob Kaan, who guided a bus load of tourists to safety in the smoke filled Homer Tunnel after his bus caught fire.

Anyone can nominate a hero. Nomination forms are available from any Police Station or Beaurepaires store or by emailing highway-heroes@xtra.co.nz.


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