A Huapai man has been critically injured after his truck was hit by a train at a level rail crossing northwest of Auckland and shunted 60 metres.
Jonathan Pettit, 61, was flown by the Westpac rescue helicopter to Auckland Hospital after the 10.15am collision with a freight train at the intersection of Trotting Course and Waitakere Rd, Kumeu.
The warehouse worker for Horselands Kumeu had been delivering horse feed to a home in Boord Cres only metres from his work.
The firm's light truck he was driving was pushed north along the railway line and came to land on the grass bank below the train tracks.
The rail crossing has a stop sign on either side.
It was not controlled by lights and bells, police said.
Warehouse manager Manoj Kumar said Pettit was his assistant who has worked at Horselands for about three months.
"Normally I was supposed to deliver the feed but I was busy," Kumar said. "The office lady heard a loud bang then looked up and saw the train crash."
The Waitemata serious crash unit and KiwiRail were investigating.
TrackSAFE New Zealand manager Megan Drayton said the crash was a tragic reminder ahead of the holiday season to take care around level crossings.
"Trains can come at any time of the day and night and people shouldn't rely on if they might come but expect them to come."
It was important to treat all crossings, whether they had just a stop sign or lights and barrier arms, in the same way you would a normal road intersection, Drayton said.
"When you approach a crossing look both ways and take extra care."
TrackSAFE New Zealand was formerly known as the Chris Cairns Foundation and educates people about level-crossing safety.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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