'Big Bruvva' is here to help

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:04 15/05/2014
houseboat
SVEN HERSELMAN/FAIRFAX NZ

MONSTER MISSION: Neil Jorgensen says his monster truck could be used by Marlborough Civil Defence in an emergency.

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A monster truck more commonly used for crushing cars and crowd-pleasing entertainment spectacles is being offered up to emergency services.

Blenheim man Neil Jorgensen said his four-wheel-drive truck could be an important tool to Marlborough Civil Defence in the event of emergencies similar to the pre-Easter storms which saw landslips shut State Highway 1 and roads across the region.

Jorgensen said the truck, which he affectionately calls "Big Bruvva", had all-terrain capability. He was speaking after a Nelson man called on Prime Minister John Key to launch an inquiry as to why a group of travellers were left trapped in perilous conditions in a leaking bus, in the pre-Easter storm.

Oliver Sutherland was one of a group of 27 passengers due to fly from Christchurch to Nelson on April 17 when the storm hampered travel plans. The flight was cancelled and they were put on a bus to get to Nelson.

Heading back to Kaikoura, the bus was stopped by a slip and they were trapped in the cold, leaking bus in appalling weather for eight hours.

Two people on the bus required medical attention, including a man who had been treated for a brain tumour. He was hospitalised as a result of the exhaustion from the 22-hour ordeal, Sutherland said.

Jorgensen said he had offered his services to Civil Defence following last year's Seddon earthquakes.

The truck had the capability to negotiate tough, terrain, mud and water, he said.

It had the capacity to carry six people and a stretcher.

"It can pretty much go anywhere. It is available for free to civil defence during emergency situations."

Jorgensen said he would be willing to drive the truck.

"During the pre-easter storms I kept the weather conditions on my radar but I didn't receive a call from civil defence."

Marlborough emergency services manager John Foley said Jorgensen was on their contacts list but the services of the truck had not been required.

Foley said in the event of an emergency it would be the decision of the police if the monster truck was appropriate.

"If someone is attempting to get over a mud slide it might not be safe. We don't want people going across land slips and unstable ground."

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- The Marlborough Express

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