Fire crew remove a dead sheep from a stock truck trailer that rolled on East Taratahi Rd on Monday. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

Rainfall a factor in crash

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

The trailer of a fully laden stock truck rolled and crashed on East Taratahi Rd on Monday morning, killing several sheep, and snapping the drawbar to the truck.

The driver was uninjured but shaken.

The trailer skidded on the roadside edge and then tipped on to its side.

The driver managed to stop his truck on the wrong side of the road facing traffic.

Masterton Fire Service officer in charge Doug Flowerday said the driver was lucky to come off without injury but he said it was also lucky for him and others that there was no one coming the other way at the time of the crash.

But it was not so lucky for half a dozen sheep killed in the crash.

Other sheep were loose on the road for a short time but were rounded up quickly.

“It is just like most motor vehicle accidents,” Flowerday said. “There can be injuries and sometimes fatalities.

“This time the fatalities were sheep, that is the good part of this one, but it could’ve been worse.”

The fire service crew helped get the trailer top off and the sides slid out so the injured and dead sheep could be hauled out.

Fire and police personnel managed the traffic for more than three hours while the remaining stock were moved into a roadside paddock. Neighbouring farmers assisted.

One of the helpers brought his tractor to remove the sheep that had been killed.

Manager of family-owned trucking company Martinborough Transport Josh Hawkins said, “My driver has been driving for many years and he is cut up about the accident.

“It doesn’t take much on these narrow roads for a truck to get into a bit of mud on the left side of the road and throw the wheels into a skid. This can happen in a blink of an eye.

“He has the day off, but if he is ready, we want him back in the saddle.”

Hawkins said, it was great so many neighbours came quickly to help.

“That’s what happens in rural towns – everyone bands together in a crisis.

“We were lucky a farm gate was close by and we got the sheep off the trailer fast.”

The crash happened during rainfall, which got heavier during the clean-up.

The road was shut to traffic for most of the day and a detour was put in place.

A Loader Construction Engineering crane was used to get the trailer upright.

Powerco cut power in the area because of power lines above the crash site where the crane was working.

Most of the 250 sheep were transported to their destination in Hawke’s Bay later in the day.