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Locals help out with tow truck crash spill

Saturday, 19 April 2014 8:00 a.m.

Locals in a remote part of Opotiki came to the assistance of Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention officers dealing with a spill from a fatal truck crash on Thursday.

The tow truck had crashed 25 metres down a bank on isolated Takaputahi Road, Toatoa, 36 Km from the intersection of Old Motu Road and State Highway 35, killing the two occupants and leaking diesel and hydraulic fluid into a stream which feeds into the Motu River.

It was dark when the wreck was first discovered, so Regional Council staff left in the early hours of the morning to reach the site by four wheel drive track up the stream.

They were able to put booms into the stream and remove  leaking diesel and fuel with the help of local people who brought drums and assisted with the operation, Senior Pollution Prevention officer Adrian Heays said.

“A local offered the use of his bulldozer and went some distance to find a driver. Once the brakes were unlocked we could tow the truck without gouging the stream bed and get it right out of the water. 

He estimated that the truck had up to 200 litres of diesel and 200 litres of hydraulic fluid on board, some of which had escaped into the stream before the response team got to the scene. 

“The local people who live in the area were amazing and really helped us out, especially Paul Waghorne, Tony Calhoun and Weka who came to drive the bulldozer,” Mr Heays said. “We wouldn’t have been able to complete the job without them.”

The cause of the truck crash is being investigated.

 

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Truck crash