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Man pulled from smoke-filled ute

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

A group of stunned musicians frantically took to a car window with a shovel to free an injured man from the vehicle’s smoke-filled interior.

The ute, in which the driver was trapped, smashed into a parked van on Lincoln Rd, Masterton, shunting the van about 40 metres diagonally across the road and into a power pole.

Police, ambulance and fire were called yesterday late afternoon to the crash, which drew dozens of nearby residents from their houses.

The injured man was taken to Wairarapa Hospital by ambulance. The extent of his injuries are not yet known.

Ryan Douglas had been inside his Lincoln Rd flat with two of his band members, one of which owned the written-off silver van which had been parked at the intersection of Lincoln Rd and Coradine St.

“We heard two loud bangs. We all ran out when we heard it. We knew no one was in one van because it was Ben’s work van.

“We ran over to check on the driver. We saw the cab was filling with smoke so we grabbed a shovel to smash the window and dragged him out.

“He was awake when we got there but he was concussed as. As soon as we smashed the window he started responding better.”

A parked van was hit by a ute and shunted 40m across Lincoln Rd, Masterton, crashing into a powerpole. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
A parked van was hit by a ute and shunted 40m across Lincoln Rd, Masterton, crashing into a powerpole. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

He said many bystanders had been on their cell phones calling emergency services.

Masterton’s Shayne Taylor, a member of the band Inhale, said the ordeal had been “shocking”.

“Everyone’s okay, that’s the main thing,” he said.

Constable Nick Athberley said it was fortunate the van had been empty.

“As far as we’re aware, the Estima was parked here on the side of the road. The ute has come down and collided with back of it and shunted it into that power pole. I would say it got 40 metres,” he said.

“At the moment it’s very early stages but we will be looking at possible vehicle faults, driver error or a medical complication.”

The owner of the van asked only to be named as Ben.

His painting and decorating business, Whipp Exteriors, was run out of the vehicle.

“It’s my business, it’s my work van. I own it all and now it’s all gone.”

The metal band had been counting on the van as a means of getting to their New Plymouth gig this weekend.

“Now we’ll have to sus something else to get up there,” Mr Douglas said.

Nearby residents at the scene reported losing power to their houses following the crash.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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