Investigation into port death underway
Sun, 20 Jan 2013 6:02p.m.
By Rachel Tiffen
Wellington port staff are mourning the loss of a workmate believed to have been crushed to death in a warehouse accident early this morning.
Emergency services were called to Centreport just before 12:30am, but tragically Mark Samoa could not be saved.
With all shipping halted as a mark of respect, investigators headed to the warehouse where Mr Samoa lost his life.
It was just after midnight when the 47-year-old Wellington father somehow became trapped between a forklift and containers of pulp.
Those who knew the long-time wharfie are devastated.
“Ten or more years and I've been a fellow worker of his for all that time,” says John Whiting of the Maritime Union. “He was a really good worker, a man you could rely on absolutely at all times and just well regarded by all of the group that he worked with.”
In a statement, Centreport chief executive Blair O'Keeffe says the company’s "primary concern is to provide support to his family and to staff who have been deeply affected by the loss of their close colleague”.
Mr Samoa was second generation working at the port.
“Mark's father, Peter Samoa, worked on the Wellington waterfront in his time as well,” says Mr Whiting. “That just makes it all the more tragic for us.”
Health and safety inspectors are investigating how Mr Samoa was killed. Those who saw it unfold are reportedly and understandably very upset. They're being supported by Centreport and the Maritime Union and have been offered counselling.
“It's a very severe fright because in different times in different circumstances it can be any one of us,” says Mr Whiting.
Its understood Mr Samoa is survived by a wife and three children.
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