The man who died after the truck he was driving crashed into the Bulls RSA has been named by police.
He was 37-year-old Frederick Thomas Nathan of Dannevirke.
Staff at the Bulls RSA were greeted by a ‘‘bomb site’’ when they arrived at work to find a truck had smashed through the front of the building.
Mr Nathan died when his Retko Logistics truck and trailer unit smashed into the State Highway 1 building about 3.40am yesterday.
He died at the scene.
Emergency services staff removed parts of the building around the truck to remove the truck from the site without causing more damage.
The crashed caused power at the RSA to cut out, leaving wires exposed and taking out a street light.
The interior of a lounge area in the building was visible from the street because of the large hole the truck punched through the wall, while chunks of wood and steel littered the footpath.
RSA bar manager Geoff Connelly said the building normally opened at 11am but they were delayed by 10 minutes while they waited for the power to come back on.
It took them most of the day to clean up, he said.
‘‘It was like a bomb site in here,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a bit of damage inside... televisions that were on walls, a bit of furniture that needs to be repaired or replaced.’’
Insurance assessors visited the site and engineers were expected to look at the structural damage today.
Parts of the roof were removed by firefighters, including a steel girder that went through the truck’s cab, before it could be pulled out.
Timber from the roof was also embedded in the truck.
A section of footpath underneath the veranda was closed to the public as a safety precaution.
Mr Connelly said only six weeks ago a car had hit the front of the building.
‘‘We’re pretty resilient out here, it’s not the first time it’s happened – it’s only just been repaired actually,’’ he said.
The RSA’s front entrance would be closed until the damage had been repaired.
Police Senior Constable Chris Craig said detours around the section of State Highway 1 were in place until 9.30am yesterday, but motorists were not badly affected.
Retko Logistics general manager Wayne Sivern said the man was a relief driver.
An independent investigation would be carried out by the company, he said.
‘‘We have a pretty comprehensive investigation process that we follow,’’ Mr Sivern said.
‘‘We treat it as a learning opportunity even though it’s a negative, our aim is to reduce them.’’
The Serious Crash Unit investigates
It will take about a month to fully investigate the fatal crash that involved a truck and trailer smashing into the Bulls RSA, police say.
Firefighters pulled him out of the cab and performed CPR but he died at the scene.
Senior Sergeant Nick Dobson told the Manawatu Standard that the Serious Crash Unit was investigating, but it would be a month until the cause of the crash was known.
The case would then be referred to the coroner, he said.
Power was turned off at the RSA because of exposed wires and a street light that had been smashed over.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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