Wind warning signs wanted

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 15:33 08/01/2014

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Kaikoura

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There are calls for a road management system to be established in severe north-west winds after Kaikoura's emergency services were called out three times in the space of one hour.

The winds picked up on Friday morning, and by noon were so strong in parts of the district it was difficult to stand upright.

About 1.15pm the first of the callouts came for a caravan that had been obliterated by the wind on Kincaid Straight, north of Kaikoura.

Within the space of an hour, on the same stretch of road, a second caravan was flattened and a boat and trailer ripped off a car and upturned.

The two caravans were written off, but fortunately for the boat owners the worst of the damage was to the trailer and tow bar on the car, rather than the boat.

Fire chief Ian Walker said people passing through Kaikoura often did not realise how strong the gusts could get on that straight of SH1.

Road signs warned of strong winds but there were no warnings that caravans, campervans and other high-sided vehicles could actually tip over.

"It was just pure luck that no-one was hurt in any of these situations," he said.

"But with these caravans and campervans, it is only a matter of time, so there really needs to be a system in place."

The strong winds prevented his team from salvaging the wreckage, and the caravans then became the target of thieves, which Mr Walker said was a disgrace.

Items including batteries, clothing and gas bottles were taken, despite the property owners not being far away.

"The pilfering that went on was bloody disgusting," Mr Walker said.

The calibre of people is pretty low if that sort of thing is going on."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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