Six-year-old boy killed driving adult quad bike

Last updated 15:39 07/01/2014
Charlie Vercoe
CHARLIE VERCOE: Died after a quad bike accident.
Quad bike, police
FATAL INJURIES: Emergency Services were called to the scene at a residence on the Wallacetown-Lorneville highway where a six-year-old boy died in a quad bike accident.

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A six-year-old boy killed in a quad bike crash yesterday was riding an adult-size quadbike by himself, a firefighter says.

Wallacetown Volunteer firefighter and officer in charge, Brendan Hamilton, said the boy, who was visiting a rural property at Underwood, near Invercargill, was pinned under the machine after it was submerged in a creek.

The boy, named today as Charlie John Vercoe, had been freed by the time firefighters arrived at the farm but appeared to be have been trapped under the bike for several minutes, he said.

Charlie was rushed to hospital but was later pronounced dead.

Police said it appeared that Charlie and his 12-year-old brother were out together riding quad bikes when the crash occurred.

"While police are continuing to investigate the crash, initial indications are that Charlie lost control of the quad bike he was driving, which rolled before landing in a ditch of water,'' police said in a press release.

Police added that the incident is a tragic reminder of the need for a high level of safety in relation to farm vehicles.

A Work Safety New Zealand spokesman said the agency had been notified and had begun preliminary inquiries and that would determine if it became involved.

The agency would only become a part of the investigation if it was a work-related incident.

The Wallacetown brigade was among the first emergency service to attend the scene to assist with first aid, followed by the Kingswell fire brigade.

Kingswell station officer Colin Russell said his brigade responded to a "rescue call" to assist ambulance personnel but several of his firefighters were required to drive St John vehicles, including the ambulance the child was travelling in, back to town so the staff could work on the child en route to hospital.

Russell said the incident happened "quite a wee way into a farm" and was handed over to police for investigation.

Fire Service shift commander Andrew Norris said it was uncommon for firefighters to drive ambulances but, in situations where the patient was in a serious condition, it was another way of the crews helping.

Firefighters having to drive ambulances would happen only about once a month, he said.

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Lloyd said the number of quad bike accidents happening throughout New Zealand was an "area for concern".

Wallacetown chief fire officer Bill McLachlan said while farm accidents were a rare event for the crew to attend, it highlighted the need for volunteers in their local community.

"We try to look after our community, things go wrong but we can't do anything about that but that's why we are here. It's situations like these that show the need for volunteer spirit."

- The Southland Times

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