By Dan Parker
A man found dead in a storm water drain near Te Papa in Wellington appears to have died from making a simple mistake: he dropped his car keys.
They fell through a grate covering the drain and according to police, Peter Black died trying to retrieve them.
The 43-year-old metal worker died in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Friend and co-worker Matt Vibert identified the body and says he still cannot believe the crazy circumstances surrounding his mate's death.
“Just absolutely shocked…It's just a really crap way to go,” he says.
Car keys were found underneath Mr Black's body and belonged to his red van, which was parked next to the drain's grate.
No rain fell in Wellington during Saturday so it is unlikely the pipe would have been full of water.
The opening is about 1.4m deep and around half a metre wide.
“As a result of the scene examination, a review of CCTV footage, as well as talking to a number of people who were in the vicinity of the area, we believe Mr Black was in the vicinity of the van and the storm water culvert at around 6am on Saturday morning,” says detective inspector Paul Basham.
The body was not spotted until around 30 hours later, underneath the closed grate early on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Vibert says Mr Black was a trustworthy and social guy, an expert metal worker and helped teach many of the staff at the metal construction business their trade.
“He enjoyed having a few beers with the boys, he's got a horse down in Ohariu Valley, Kiddy, he used to spend weekends down there riding that and, you know, the world isn't going to be the same place without that guy that's for sure.”
The coroner is yet to determine the exact cause of death and will consider the results of a toxicology report.
Regardless, police have made it clear there are no suspicious circumstances but still want to hear from anyone who was near Te Papa around 6am last Saturday morning.