Digger victim a former soldier
A man killed when a digger fell on top of him in Wellington was a former New Zealand soldier who served in Bosnia.
Tony Wayne Matterson, 40, of Upper Hutt, was replacing a sewer pipe when a digger slipped into the ditch on top of him at the corner of Fairlie Tce and Devon St, Kelburn, about 2.50pm yesterday.
An ambulance was called to the residential area, however Mr Matterson, who worked for drainage contractors Construction Contracts, died at the scene. His body was removed from the site after a blessing last night.
The Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry is investigating the incident.
A New Zealand Defence Force spokesman this afternoon confirmed Mr Matterson, whose rank was Lance Bombardier, served as a soldier from 1995 to 2001 as part of the Royal New Zealand Artillery.
He spent six-months with the NATO Stabilisation Force in Bosnia immediately after the fracturing of the former Yugolasiva.
Last night Inspector Terry Van Dillen said Mr Matterson was killed while he worked in a ditch about 1.5 metres deep.
"It would appear it [a digger] has slipped and unfortunately there's been a guy working in a ditch there and the digger has hit him in the body somewhere," Inspector Terry Van Dillen said.
Stuart Hurst, director of Equip Recruitment, said five of his staff were working at the site and were shaken by the incident.
"All we know is that the digger has fallen on the guy. By the sounds of it, it's just a really freak accident, but who knows," he said.
"They [his staff] are a bit shaken up - we just want to get them away from it. I didn't want to talk to them about it because they were upset."
Mr Matterson was not one of Mr Hurst's staff, but he knew him. "He's a bloody hard worker, a good guy, with heaps of experience. I know they [CCL] do a [lot] of health and safety."
Wellington City Council spokesman Grahame Armstrong said CCL was sub-contracted to do the work for the council by Capacity Infrastructure Services.
Capacity is a council-owned organisation that manages the water networks for Wellington and Hutt city councils.
CCL managing director David Howard declined to comment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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