'You killed my son' - mother to Vector
Fri, 19 Oct 2012 6:01p.m.
By Amanda Gillies
It was father's day and Raymond Tuporo – a father – was trapped in the wreck of his car, wrapped around a power pole. He was alive, but the power was still on.
By the time Vector turned the power off – nearly two-and-a-half hours after the crash – he was dead.
At the time, 3 News was told emergency services at the scene were frustrated. One worker was overheard saying: “Just turn the power off – I don't care if all of Onehunga goes black.”
To find out why that didn't happen, 3 News made an Official Information Act request.
The requested papers reveal the Fire Service was called at 2:18am and alerted that a person was trapped, but alive. At 2:25am an urgent request to Vector was made by the fire officer in charge. Two minutes later a further urgent request was transmitted. At 2:42am the officer in charge advised that Mr Tuporo couldn't be touched until Vector's arrival.
At 4:02am Vector was still unable to isolate the power, and was told to “isolate [the] greater area”.
Finally, at 4:40am, Vector advised it was safe to begin extrication, but that was too late for Mr Tuporo.
The Auckland area fire commander immediately laid a complaint over the time it took Vector to respond and attend to the emergency.
3 News asked why it took so long to switch the power off, and the response was: “Isolation was complex […] it was not a case of merely going in to a switch and turning it off."
3 News can also reveal that since August last year there have been “five occasions in which a fire officer at an accident scene has raised a question about the time it took for Vector or its contractor to isolate electricity'”.
However in each of those cases, the Fire Service later stated it was satisfied with Vector's explanations.
Mr Tuporo's case is still before the coroner – but his family certainly are not satisfied with what Vector is saying so far. 3 News asked Vector for an interview and were told that the issue was still under investigation by the coroner.
Mr Tuporo’s family says Vector and the emergency services are still keeping them in the dark, so 3 News gave his mother Glenda a copy of the OIA files.
“Now I know my boy was alive, it's just heartbreaking,” she says. “Somebody's got to pay for this – somebody.”
Mr Tuporo’s mother has a message for Vector.
“I hope you [are] proud of what you did. You more or less killed my son,” she says. “Maybe if you had of turned that power off they would have been able to save him. At least until his family got there.”
She says when she told Vector she wanted them to pay, they told her they had no comment and referred her to the police.
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20/10/2012 10:54:16 p.m.
Awhile back the power was low on one phase (193 instead of 237 volts). It took a week to fix and the plans were not at all clear in the area. It was finally noticed that someone had linked a phase fed from one transformer to a phase fed from another. That means someone could not locate a blown fuse, jumped this link wire as a temporary "fix" and left, never to return. Of course isolating that particular phase then becomes an issue in an emergency because a fuse for a wire feeding a completely different area is still feeding power to an area that should be able to be isolated from its own fuses. Not to mention the possible damage to induction motors and other equipment sensitive to low voltage or uneven phases. Tried ringing the "bosses" but they weren't overly interested to explain the Onehunga mess up
20/10/2012 10:33:25 p.m.
two and a half hours? they should have turned it off immediately. This is outrageous.I'd be bloody angry if it was my son.And I'm angry on behalf of Mr Tuporo's family.
20/10/2012 3:30:59 p.m.
It indeed was an unacceptable length of time for Vector to switch off the necessary power lines. BUT we must not forget, had there not been a crash, there wouldn't be a tragedy. It might have been the force of the crash that killed him, whether he had alcohol, a medical condition etc in him at the time of crash we won't know as the blame is fully on Vector at the moment. Wanting Vector to "pay" for it? Sounds a little strange like they really just want compensation and that would fix everything and they'd be able to move on with life.
20/10/2012 3:11:14 p.m.
This is crazy how people just opt to put their views without knowing the depth of the actual situation. You should bare in mind he was someone's dad, brother and son. His family has every right to question Vector and the explanation they are being given is pathetic. Two and half hours is a life time in a life and death situation. So when people say that it wouldn't have made a difference, that's utterly wrong and disgusting. Try placing you or someone you love in that situation. I am sure than the tables will turn..
20/10/2012 1:27:59 p.m.
Jacob Tuporo wrote:
My bro deserved to spend his last moments with his loved ones around him. We can accept that fact that the crash could possibly have been his fault but for him to have sat there alone for nearly two-and-a-half hours while people could only look on because they had to wait for the power company to switch the power off is unacceptable. I can't imagine what could have been going through his head whilst he was still alive. His son, mother, sister, brothers, nieces, nephews & everyone else who loved him deserve to know why it took so long! R.I.P my bro
20/10/2012 12:12:50 p.m.
I fail to see why the mother told Vector they have to pay.This crash was not there fault.Is this all they care about how much money they can get. what is the price for a son these days.
20/10/2012 9:29:37 a.m.
I feel for the family as the unknown of whether getting to their loved one earlier may have saved his life will always play on their mind. It was an unacceptable length of time and needs to be explained so it never happens again to anyone elses loved one.
20/10/2012 9:11:33 a.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
I AGREE WITH @ALI Comments. My condolences to the Tuporo’s family and I understand how Glenda Tuporo feels at this stage.
MY REAL CONCERN in this tragedy is the amount of time it took Vector - TWO HOURS & FIFTEEN MINUTES to isolate the electricity at this site. When TV3 last night interviewed other contractors around NZ they all advised that 30 to 40 minutes would be their average time to isolate electricity in a similar situation. So in comparison VECTOR emergency response plans are in dire need of an overhaul and more training is desperately needed. Imagine if this had been a Petrol or a Gas Tanker vehicle what the potential risk of an explosion would have been as the minutes ticked by; OR a schoolbus full of children all trying to get out of the bus. VECTOR stop all the fancy marketing for new customers and spend some money on developing new meaningful emergency response plans and on retraining all your current staff.
Your EXCUSES on this occasion were quite PATHETIC.
20/10/2012 7:54:06 a.m.
This is a tragedy without a doubt however for the subsequent events to take place first someone has to hit a power pole with huge force. I doubt the blame can convienently be laid with with the power company.
19/10/2012 11:46:23 p.m.
i work & drive along the road where the crash occured every day, it is a 50kmh flat,wide & smooth stretch of road on a moderate bend, the pole the car collided with was a substantial concrete type, the paint marks on the road left by the investigation started a long way back on the wrong side of the road, stop blaming vector for the fatality, leave it to the coroner, even if they had got the power off sooner, i doubt it would have made any difference to the outcome, it is still a tragic loss for the family, but trying to dredge up a news story from it is irresponsible, the road saftey message as a reminder to other young guys should be the story here.
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