Two children dead in freak accidents

Last updated 05:00 09/03/2014

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Two children in the deep south have died within 24 hours in freak incidents involving vehicles.

Eight year-old Milton Primary School pupil Jonathan James Kerr was declared dead in a logging area in the Manuka Gorge, South Otago, on Friday evening after emergency personnel failed to revive him.

Yesterday a 7-year-old boy died when a vehicle reversed over him in a driveway at a rural property near Wallacetown, Southland. Police are not releasing his name until relatives have been contacted but said it appeared a family member was driving.

The two tragic incidents follow the death of 6-year-old Charlie Vercoe who crashed into a ditch while riding an adult quad bike on a farm at Lorneville in Southland in early January.

A South Otago fire service officer who won't be named told the Sunday Star-Times Jonathan James Kerr's death was "a freak accident" and "not very nice" but would not comment on how the boy died. Police deny they are baffled by the case, but say the lack of detail is because the case is now with the coroner.

Detective sergeant Brett Roberts of the Dunedin Police would not confirm reports the boy died after getting his head caught in a truck window.

A vehicle had been seized for forensic and electrical testing. A truck from South Otago contracting company, Wynyard Transport, was seen working at the scene of the boy's death but a spokesman from Wynyard Transport said: "I could comment but not while there is an investigation going on. I don't want to jeopardise it."

Dunedin senior sergeant Ed Baker said personnel involved in the investigation were "very upset" by the gorge tragedy.

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- Sunday Star Times

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