Two southern families are mourning the loss of their young sons after they died in two tragic events.
Brodie Jacob Molloy, 7, of Wallacetown, was fatally injured as his family watched, when a car reversing in their drive struck him on Saturday.
Emergency service rushed to the family's home, but Brodie died shortly after in hospital.
Sergeant Ian Temple, of Invercargill, said the driver of the vehicle was an "immediate family member".
The Molloy family did not want to comment when approached yesterday, as family and friends rallied around to support them.
Mr Temple said that, understandably, they were distraught at losing one of their loved sons.
The parents were "a bit empty at the moment", he said.
"It was a traumatic event."
Southland Stockcar Drivers Association chairman Graeme McKernan said the family were a massive part of the tightknit fraternity in Southland.
Mr McKernan said he had visited the family yesterday. They were devastated.
"I would like to offer our condolences to [his parents] Nigel, Megan and Luke [his brother] and we are all thinking of them."
Brodie spent a lot of time at Riverside Speedway watching his mother, Megan, race, he said.
"He had a good future ahead of him, he loved motor sport."
He was looking forward to racing his bike on Saturday night, Mr McKernan said.
The Kerr family, of Milton, are also mourning the loss of their young son.
Milton Primary School pupil Jonathan James Kerr, 8, was declared dead in a logging area in the Manuka Gorge, South Otago, on Friday evening after emergency services could not revive him.
His family could not be reached yesterday.
A South Otago fire service officer told The Southland Times Jonathan's death was "a freak accident" and "not very nice" but would not comment on how the boy died.
Detective Sergeant Brett Roberts, of Dunedin, would not confirm reports the boy died after getting his head caught in a truck window.
A vehicle had been taken for forensic and electrical testing.
Senior Sergeant Ed Baker, of Dunedin, said personnel involved in the investigation were "very upset" by the tragedy.
Milton Primary School board of trustees chairman Martin Clark said the school had been working with the Ministry of Education and staff had been briefed on Saturday.
Today the school will hold an assembly and work through the tragic situation with the children.
The school was small and part of a tightknit community and it was "really hard" for everyone involved, he said.
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 early January.
Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said such events that had claimed the lives of some of the region's youngest members had "rocked communities".
But Southland was known for being "close knit" and he said the region would be behind the families and supporting them.
Mr Tong said he knew the Molloy family and the tragic set of circumstances was "heartbreaking".
"They have got the backing of the community."
Both deaths have been referred to the coroner. firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Southland Times