The family of a worker killed at the Port of Lyttelton on
Saturday morning say he had only just begun work and was
rebuilding his life after his marriage failed.
Warren Ritchie, 49, died after being struck in the chest by
machinery while in the hold of a vessel berthed at the port.
His mother Helen Dungey, 68, said the family was struggling
with the loss of a "caring and gentle man".
"He had been hit very hard by the break-up with his wife, it
broke his heart, and he had spent a year wallowing, really,"
Ms Dungey said.
Unions have called for a review of health and safety at the
Port of Lyttelton after Mr Ritchie's death and another death
last month of contractor Bill Frost.
Mr Ritchie's late father Barry was also a waterfront worker,
and he came from a long line of hard workers from the
Lyttelton area, Ms Dungey said.
"After he'd decided to get back to work, he went casual at
the port for a while and he'd just been full time for a few
months. He'd got himself a room in Lyttelton and he was just
getting on with things really."
Ms Dungey said she had heard only a little of what had
occurred in the accident. She said workmates were with him
immediately afterwards and he hadn't suffered.
"There'll be a big investigation. I believe it's case of
being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been talking
with the Maritime Union, the port's people and the health and
safety ones. They've been all very good with the family."
Mr Ritchie was a seaman for some years but gave up the ships
to settle with his wife and was a bakery worker based in
Christchurch for a long time before recently returning to the
Port of Lyttelton, his mother said.
"He was a good lad, a wonderful son. He has two sisters,
Michelle and Donna. He had no children but he adored his four
nieces and nephews. We really don't know what we'll do now."
Mr Ritchie's funeral will be on Friday at 10.30am at a
service in the Lyttelton Top Club.