Home' Greymouth Star : May 22nd 2014 Contents 3
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THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014
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Win a DIY
death a ‘freak accident’
rescue for trapped
A man was rescued from a logging
truck submerged in the Buller River
near Murchison this morning, after
a major rescue effort involving
kayaks, a jetboat and helicopter. The
truck, empty at the time, went off
the road and about 30m down a
bank, trapping the driver in the cab.
The accident happened at 10am on
State highway 6 on the Kawatiri-
Murchison highway, near Longford,
just north of Murchison. Freelance
photographer Barry Whitnall said
the truck ended up in the middle of
the river. It appeared the truck had
gone straight off the road at a corner,
landing in the water, upright and on
its wheels. The front looked “fairly
flat ”. “ There’s been a few accidents
there,” Mr Whitnall said. He said the
driver was fortunate the river was not
in flood — “he’s a very lucky lad”.
St John spokesman Ian Henderson
said the driver was injured, possibly
moderately. The Nelson Rescue
Helicopter was sent to assist.
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn has taken out another
national award, being named trustee
of the year for his ‘business acumen
and personal skills’ as a fundraiser
for the Greymouth aquatic centre,
air ambulance, Pike River Mine
families’ relief fund and the Life
Education Trust. “ Tony Kokshoorn
has gone far outside the boardroom
with hands-on fundraising and
patronage of many community
organisations and charities,” the
New Zealand Trustees Association
said today. Mr Kokshoorn has also
received awards from Toastmasters,
Rotary, the New Zealand Herald
(readers’ choice person of the year
2010), Reader’s Digest (most trusted
politician) and one from the PR
Heavy rain eases to showers
A crocodile was injured in Russia
when an accountant weighing
120kg fell on him during a bus trip
through the arctic north. Two-
metre-long Fedya was injured when
the accountant for the circus to
which he belonged tumbled from
her seat as the mini-bus took a
sharp turn. The Soviet Circus, based
in the region of Murmansk, feared
for the reptile’s life when the shock
left it vomiting for three hours.
Fedya has since recovered and is
now waiting in Moscow to become
the star of a Russian television
programme, circus director Vassili
Kolos said. — AFP
A former Cronadun farmer has
slammed Kiwi Rail for not having any
type of warning signals at the numerous
rail crossings along the Reefton-
Westport rail line after an empty coal
train ploughed into a car yesterday,
killing a Reefton couple.
The fatality occurred only 3km from
another uncontrolled level crossing
at Swamp Creek Road, where local
woman, Jane Sluys, was killed in January
when her ute was struck by a train as she
exited her property.
The couple killed about 1pm yesterday
have been named as Robert James Jacobs,
66, and Marieta Ocba Jacobs, 43. The
Greymouth Star understands they had
been visiting friends on Landing Creek
Road and were returning to Reefton
when they met the train on the crossing
alongside State highway 69.
The level crossing is controlled by a
give way sign. The train was heading
toward Westport at the time.
Local residents spoken to by the
Greymouth Star today expressed a
mixture of shock and anger that a
second fatality could happen in such
close proximity and within five months
of each other.
Peter Newbold, who farmed in the
Larrys Creek area for eight years and
now lives in the Marlborough Sounds,
said there was “no excuse ” for more
people to die on uncontrolled crossings
and the problem could be easily fixed.
“One death is too many. The problem
would be easily fixed if warning signals
were put in — they need to be on every
damned crossing along the line,” Mr
Reefton woman Donna Mills, a c lose
friend of Mrs Sluys, said the site of
yesterday’s fatality should have had
flashing lights and barriers.
She blamed poor visibility for both
“The vision is just terrible, the gorse
and all that, it needs to be cleared out
down both sides of the railway track,”
Ms Mills said.
“This is a small community, we don’t
need this happening again. ”
A Cronadun woman, who did not
want to be named, said that after the first
accident, trains had been sounding their
horns in advance of each level crossing,
but she was unsure if that happened
yesterday. She hoped it was not the same
She blamed complacency, not the
“ I went straight across the railway line
the other day, I didn’t even realise — I
was too busy talking,” the woman said.
Kiwi Rail senior communications
adviser David Miller said there had been
seven collisions involving trains in the
Buller district over the past decade, two
of them fatal.
“ While the number of trains using a
particular line may change, the Landing
Creek Road level crossing is currently
used by fewer than 10 trains and
approximately 20 road vehicles a day,”
Mr Miller said.
He said all level crossings in New
Zealand had some form of protection
and Kiwi Rail used the Australian level
crossing assessment model to evaluate
the level of risk at each crossing,
including collision or near-collision
history. Whenever there was a collision
at a level crossing it was reassessed to
determine if additional safety measures
“ It costs approximately $120,000
to install flashing lights and bells at a
crossing,” Mr Miller said.
“ Motorists need to always look and
listen for trains and should approach
level crossings controlled by either give
way or stop signs in the same way they
would road intersections — and slow
down and be prepared to stop. ”
The train driver involved has been
relieved of his duties for three days and
has been offered counselling.
The Nelson police crash investigation
team was still at the site this morning.
Retired lawyer Arthur Jamieson is the new president of Grey Power Greymouth, taking over the reins from Kevin Brown, who did not seek
re-election at the annual general meeting at the Holy Trinity Centre, on Tuesday. Mr Jamieson comes in with membership on the rise, up 2.2% to
593 members. Among the topics discussed at the meeting was the need for members to become more internet savvy and utilise social media as the
quickest method to share news with its members. Ironically, though, the group was unable to fill its secretary vacancy, with some members hesitant
that the role required the use of a computer.
Husband and wife named
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Tech challenge for Grey Power
DOC owns up to mystery explosion
A loud explosion that shook
Runanga and D unollie early this
afternoon — and was apparently
heard as far away as Dobson, Kokiri,
Cobden and Ngahere — was traced
to Department of Conser vation
blasting on the Point Elizabeth
DOC confirmed it had been doing
blasting on the track this morning.
A host of people in the area
reported hearing a loud, booming
Dunollie Store owner Gwen
Hislop said it was very loud and
she listened out for the sound of
emergency ser vices after ward, but
was surprised to hear nothing.
Ms Hislop said it sounded like it
might have come from the direction
of Rapahoe, though it was difficult
Social media was buzzing with
reports of the suspected explosion.
Local woman Sandra Gibbens said
in a message to the Greymouth
Star Facebook page that she heard
a “really big bang” in the area, which
she said quite a few people had
heard and felt.
Runanga Volunteer Fire Brigade
chief fire officer Gavin Gibbens also
heard the boom but had no idea
what it was.
Solid Energy spokesman Bryn
Somerville said they had not been
blasting and did not know where
the explosion had come from.
Coal is dead, report claims
A report commissioned by an
anti-coal group says the industry
is in terminal decline, financial
institutions are already divesting their
coal investments and climate change
targets mean the world has started to
turn its back on ‘king coal’.
The Coal Action Network today
released the report ‘Jobs After Coal’,
partly written by conservationist
Rosemary Penwarden, who noted
that around the world, the industry
was contracting, prices had fallen
and demand shifting to renewable
“Coal is a sunset industry,” the report
While mining jobs were well-
paid, coalmining did not produce
prosperous communities — in fact
they had lower incomes and higher
unemployment. “One explanation is
that this reflects the fact that many
of the higher-paid workers commute
long distances — for example, from
top of the south to the West Coast
and that many communities close
to the mines are not places favoured
by those who can afford to live
elsewhere,” the report says.
In 2012, 360 jobs went at Spring
Creek Mine, not long after a similar
number were lost in the wake of the
Pike River Mine disaster.
The report said Coast coal depended
on the world coking coal market
for steel making. That market had
been severely impacted by China’s
recently announced plan for energy
consumption to peak at four billion
tonnes of coal equivalent within the
current five-year-plan. China was
also closing steel mills as it moved to
The report said citizens were
pressuring their pension funds to
divest from fossil fuels. Last year,
several major financial institutions
recognised the financial and ethical
implications of continuing to
finance fossil fuels, with Nor wegian
Storebrand, Rabobank and the World
Bank among those that made major
announcements on divestment or
cutting loans associated with coal.
Ms Penwarden said there had to be
a ‘line in the sand’ for the end of coal
in New Zealand, and a plan for the
day that this happened.
“The sooner we prepare for a future
where mining towns can determine
their own paths without dependence
on the vagaries of a dying industry, the
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor said the realities of the
report could not be denied.
The reality was that the coal industry
could leave the Coast with massive
job losses and low incomes.
The way for ward was smart
utilisation of the resource, pushing
high quality coal in higher value
markets, if possible.
Existing jobs should be retained,
and Solid Energy should shift more
jobs to the Coast, he said.
The Coal Action Network, which
commissioned the report, has a central
policy of making New Zealand coal-
free by 2027, the date when most
permits for current big mines run out.
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