Teen killed by train in Matamata
BY KATRINA LINTONBON, NICOLA STEWART AND CLIO FRANCIS
A 15-year-old boy is dead after being hit by a train in Matamata this afternoon.
Police say he was struck by a train travelling in a southerly direction at about 3pm.
Ambulance officers were the first on the scene, followed by other local emergency services.
Matamata resident Stephen Webber lives directly opposite the tracks and said he heard a loud "clunk" this afternoon.
"I heard the train come back so I came out to have a look and there was an ambulance crew working on a body," he said.
Year 11 Matamata College students Jamie Knight-Smith and Austin Naicker said that school had almost finished when they heard the news that someone had been hit.
"Everyone was saying that it was a year 11 boy," said Naicker.
"We came over and saw that there was a body covered in a white blanket."
The students were texting their friends to make sure they were okay.
Wayne Dickinson, who owns a butchery across the road, said that he had never seen anyone hit on the railway line, but had often noticed school kids walking along the tracks.
"It was an accident waiting to happen," he said.
Matamata Police Sergeant Graham McGurk Police said it appeared a 15-year-old Matamata College student had been with two friends shortly before 3pm when tragedy struck.
"Initial indications are at that the trio have been near the tracks, which run parallel to Firth St near Matamata College, in an area where trees border both sides of the railway line.
"It appears the victim came out of the trees and into the path of the southbound locomotive without warning, leaving the train driver with no chance of avoiding hitting the boy."
McGurk said the priority now was ensuring the train crew and school students had the appropriate support.
"At this stage all we can confirm is the tragic nature of what has occurred, preliminary enquiries are currently under way and the boy's death has been reported to the coroner.
"This crash happened in an area between two level crossings and highlights the dangers people put them selves in when walking on or near railway lines. We would urge all pedestrians to cross railway lines at level crossings and controlled intersections where they are available."
- © Fairfax NZ News