Charlie Vercoe died from injuries after the adult-sized
quad bike he was riding rolled and crashed. Photo supplied.
The 6-year-old boy who died from injuries near
Invercargill on Monday night was riding an adult-sized 420cc
quad bike when it rolled and crashed into a ditch.
The death has prompted renewed calls for a high level of
safety awareness regarding farm vehicles, including no-one
under 16 being allowed to ride adult-sized bikes.
Emergency services were called to a farm on the
Lorneville-Wallacetown Highway at 5.30pm, after reports the
boy - named by police as Charlie John Vercoe - was seriously
He later died at Southland Hospital as a result of his
The boy was out riding a quad bike - an adult-sized Honda
420cc - with his 12-year-old brother at a farm they were
visiting when the crash occurred, Detective Sergeant Grant
Johnstone, of Invercargill, said.
Police were investigating the crash, initial indications
showing Charlie lost control of the quad bike he was driving,
which rolled before landing in a ditch of water. Police
confirmed the Invercargill boy was wearing a helmet at the
time of the crash.
Det Sgt Johnstone said the incident was a tragic reminder of
the need for a high level of safety when using farm vehicles.
The investigation was at an early stage and would be
completed on behalf of the coroner.
The owner of the property where the incident took place
declined to comment when contacted by the Otago Daily Times
The mother of the dead child posted a picture of Charlie with
a miniature horse on her Facebook page on Monday night.
The family have requested privacy.
Federated Farmers health and safety spokeswoman Jeanette
Maxwell told the Otago Daily Times the organisation
recommended no-one under 16 be allowed to use an adult-sized
''Adult bikes are huge. A little person won't be capable of
riding one, as they just aren't tall enough.''
Children who did ride on bikes, such as miniature bikes or on
an older person's lap, should always wear helmets, she said.
The federation, which is a member of the Agricultural Health
and Safety Council, had been working to improve New Zealand's
on-farm safety record, she said. This safety record appeared
to have improved over the Christmas-New Year holiday period,
There are an estimated 100,000 quad bikes on New Zealand
The federation recommended using safety aids to alert riders
if their bike was in gear, training and using age-appropriate
bikes and helmets, which was having a positive safety
benefit, she said.
Late last year coroner Brandt Shortland, after several quad
bike deaths, made several recommendations, including that
children be prevented from riding adult quad bikes.
He also said users should wear a helmet, and the appropriate
vehicle should be chosen for each job.