Witness of Ngāruawāhia train death urges community to stay off bridge

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A witness of the incident where an 11-year-old girl was killed after being hit by a train on a Ngāruawāhia bridge has issued a plea to his community to keep their children off the bridge at all costs.

It's a tragedy Ngāruawāhia local and witness Troy Waters says should never have happened.

Waters says, "You seen the same as I seen fifteen years ago.  One kid wasn't as fast as the others.  To be honest I turned away because I'd already been through that.  I'd stopped over, I sat there with my partner and my kids.  My daughter was asking, 'is she alright'?"

The 11-year-old who was hit by a freight train at 6 o'clock last night isn't the only one to have lost their life on this Ngāruawāhia bridge.

"We glamourize it that it's cool to jump off this bridge.  It's a bad sign to have these jail look fences in our town. You have a look at the roller doors, you have a look at the fences. You have this and you have our people getting run over by the train."

TrackSAFE told Te Kāea today that Kiwi Rail, police, and community organisations have made multiple efforts to discourage people from going onto the bridge, including fencing and CCTV cameras.  But sadly, people continue to ignore safety warnings.

Mr. Waters says people don't realise how dangerous it is until another person dies.  He's issuing a heartfelt plea to his community.

"It's time to wake up.  Don't come down here, don't watch your kids jump off.  You're allowing them to be able to break the law. You've got to realise, that's the law."

Police are providing support to the family of the young girl as well as the driver of the train.  Her death will be referred to the coroner.