Fire chief outlines fight to save pinned man

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Emergency services staff who responded to a fatal worksite incident near Queenstown on Monday were faced with “unique” circumstances as they worked to save the life of a second man, a senior firefighter says.

Phillip Anderson (Andy) Loving, 63, an American citizen and Queenstown resident, died and a 19-year-old man received critical injuries after they were pinned against a wall by a sewage truck while working on a septic tank.

The second man, who was flown to Dunedin Hospital with critical injuries, was in a stable condition last night.

Loving was a shareholder in Closeburn Station Management Ltd.

Queenstown volunteer fire brigade chief Terry O’Connell took charge of the scene after a dozen firefighters, along with police and St John paramedics, rushed to the Closeburn Station subdivision about 4pm.

O’Connell said it quickly became clear specialised equipment and skills were needed at the site to pull the truck away from the injured man.

“When we put out a call for help, contractors who were asked to come in instantaneously dropped everything and headed our way.”

A 70-tonne crane owned by Smith Crane & Construction was driven to the site from Millbrook Resort, while contractors brought in two heavy diggers and haulage equipment such as chains and pulleys.

O’Connell: “From the time it happenedĀ until the time they got the person out, it was a couple of hours.”

Queenstown’s building boom meant there was a wide range of equipment and expertise in the area, and he had been impressed by the response.

Two Worksafe investigators visited the site yesterday after meeting Queenstown CIB staff.

Sergeant Paula Enoka, of Queenstown, says a third man who was near the retaining wall at the time of the incident escaped injury.

There was no-one in the sewage truck at the time.

The truck is operated by SJ Allen Waste Management.

The company’s owner, Simon Spark, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The incident occurred on one of the 27 properties in the hillside subdivision, which is 11km west of Queenstown on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd.

The properties’ owners are shareholders in Closeburn Station Management Ltd.

Loving and his wife, Penny, ran Station Imports, a company which exported New Zealand
wines to the United States until last December.

A newsletter on the company’s Facebook page said they had closed the business after 16 years to “pursue new adventures”.

Otago Daily Times