Man dies after tractor plunges

A 62-year-old man  died after the tractor he was driving rolled about 300 metres down a steep hill on a farm near Gore on Monday night. 

George Lewis Williams, of Gore, was a hay-baling contractor who had worked on the farm for about five years.

Farm owner Jono Townsend said the man was driving when his tractor fell down a bench in the hill, hitting rocks, before falling about 300 metres to a gully at the bottom of the hill.

Mr Williams was thrown from the tractor and was found about five metres from the machine, he said.

Two contractors had already been on the hill in bigger tractors earlier that day.

''Once a big tractor gets out of control it's pretty hard to bring it back in,'' Mr Townsend said.

Contractors returned to the steep hill yesterday to finish baling the hay. That part of the hill was not baled often, but this year the grass had ''gotten away'', he said.

''All it was was a bit of grass; if I could take that back I would.''

Gore police and family members were at the scene of the incident yesterday.

Acting Senior Sergeant Wing-wah ng, of Invercargill, said the police investigation was complete.

A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokesman confirmed preliminary inquiries were being made today into the man's death.

The Southland Times