Coroner praises river rescue attempt
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 3:44p.m.
People who desperately tried to save the life of a teenager whose car plunged into a Southland river should be recognised for their bravery, a coroner has recommended.
William Keast, of Tokanui, south of Gore, drowned after his car left Tokanui Gorge Rd and ended up in the Matarua River in December last year.
William's friend Daniel Stronach was thrown from the vehicle in the crash and when he saw the water rippling, he realised the car had gone into the river.
Daniel waved down a passing truck driver, who called 111.
A number of other drivers stopped at the crash site, with some diving into the river to try to find William and the car.
One of the motorists, Samuel Powell, attached strops to the car but attempts to haul it out of the river failed.
The rescuers did, however, find William's body inside the car.
It wasn't until a larger logging truck arrived at the scene, and chains were attached to the car, that they were able to pull it out of the river.
In his findings, made public today, Coroner David Crerar said he would draw the efforts of William's rescuers, in particular Mr Powell, to the attention of the Royal Humane Society, which makes awards for bravery.
A spokesman for the Royal Humane Society confirmed to NZ Newswire that it had been contacted by the coroner.
Any bravery awards would be considered in due course, the spokesman said.
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