Snowboarder remembered as ‘an awesome dude’

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Dutch snowboarder Coen van Rosmalen 24, who died after being struck by a taxi in Wanaka at the weekend, had a strong effect on everyone he met in his short time in the resort, a friend says.

Wanaka man Robbie McCulloch 28 has organised a celebration of van Rosmalen’s life tomorrow evening at Wanaka’s Fitzpatricks Irish Pub.

The event also aims to raise funds to help van Rosmalen’s family in the Netherlands cover costs arising from his death.

It will include a raffle and live music by local musicians, including McCulloch, who had got to know van Rosmalen well in the few months he had lived in Wanaka.

“Our whole flat is tight with his whole flat… We all grew a bond because we all snowboarded together.”

Van Rosmalen had made a “big impact on everyone just by being an awesome dude”, McCulloch says.

“Positive, energetic, pretty much the man.”

Van Rosmalen had planned to return to the Netherlands once the ski season ended in a few weeks, McCulloch says.

Another friend, Oscar Schaeffers, describes van Rosmalen as a positive, motivated person, who loved New Zealand.

“Coen Van Rosmalen was a soldier of snowboarding, a passionate man with an infectious smile and the soundest of intent.”

Police have spoken to a new witness in the investigation into van Rosmalen’s death on Sunday.

Detective senior sergeant Colin Blackie says a passenger from an earlier taxi trip had seen a person fitting van Rosmalen’s description hitchhiking on the corner of Lakeside and Beacon Point Rds about 3am.

That was about 30 minutes before van Rosmalen was hit by a taxi further north on Beacon Point Rd.

The hitchhiker was “partially on the north-bound lane with his right arm out”, det snr sgt Blackie says.

“In front of that hitchhiker was two or three or four people and we wouldn’t mind identifying those people or anyone else for that matter that walked or drove home around the time of say 2.38 [am, the time van Rosmalen was last seen on CCTV footage in the town centre] to 3.40.”

Police are still focused on finding out what caused van Rosmalen to be lying on the road before the taxi ran him over, as indicated by witnesses and corroborated by postmortem results and the initial examination of the seized taxi.

“The options are open. Another vehicle, assault, or the deceased chose of his own volition to lie on the ground for whatever reason. We’re exploring all of the options,” det snr sgt Blackie says.

– Otago Daily Times