League accident kills Linton soldier

WHAT HE LOVED: Lieutenant Samuel Andrew Scott.
WHAT HE LOVED: Lieutenant Samuel Andrew Scott.

A young soldier has died after being critically injured during a rugby league match at Linton Military Camp in Palmerston North.

Lieutenant Samuel Andrew Scott, 21, died yesterday morning in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit. He suffered critical head injuries on Friday from a tackle during an intra-unit league nines game.

He was taken by ambulance to Palmerston North Hospital in a critical condition after emergency services were called at 11.35am on Friday, according to St John Ambulance's Manawatu duty manager, Greg Cottrell. It was believed he was flown to Wellington Hospital later the same day.

A statement from Scott's family said he died playing a game he loved, in a job he loved.

"Sam passed away peacefully this morning, surrounded by family and army friends. The army is supporting the family greatly during this difficult time."

Scott was raised in Manawatu by parents Andrew and Louise, who are prominent equestrians, and had a younger brother, Liam.

His father said last night that Sam was a "great boy".

He graduated from officer cadet school in December 2012, and went straight to work in the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals. A month ago he was promoted from second lieutenant to lieutenant.

His colleagues at the military camp were "pretty upset" yesterday, a Defence Force spokeswoman said. "He was a very popular young man."

The tackle that caused the injury was apparently innocuous, the spokeswoman said.

Scott, a sporty boy, had represented Manawatu in the under-14 rugby team.

A friend from Palmerston North Boys' High School, Dael McKimmie, said he was a hard worker and a "bit of a laugh".

The pair played rugby together at college, and it did not surprise McKimmie that Scott had gone into the military. "It would suit him. He was always a tough nut on the rugby field."

Andrew Scott was a distinguished horseman, best known for his eventing team gold medal at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm.

He was a reserve at the Los Angeles and Barcelona Olympics, and went on to become an international coach.

He and his wife run a training and coaching centre in Feilding.

A WorkSafe New Zealand spokesman said the Defence Force had informed it of the incident, and it was investigating further.

The Dominion Post