The scene of the crash. Photo: NZ Herald/Dean Purcell
A 10-year-old girl who crashed into a car as she rode her
bike south of Auckland on Thursday is a "free and strong
spirit" who is giving herself every chance of pulling through,
her father says.
Samantha Robertson is in an induced coma in Auckland's
Starship Hospital after the terrible incident in Morrison Rd,
Pukekawa, northern Waikato.
It is the latest in a series of cyclist accidents. Last month
Auckland man John Tangiia, 37, died after he was dragged
under a truck in Parnell.
Samantha's father, John Robertson, who flew from Christchurch
to be with his daughter, said she had been swimming in a
friend's pool when she had hopped on her bike to ride home.
That was why she wasn't wearing a helmet or high-visibility
vest as she usually did, he said.
Robertson struggled to put into words the shock he and
Samantha's family were feeling as they sat helpless by her
"You've got no idea, mate," he said. "But she's a free and
strong spirit who will probably pull through this, she's that
"That's what we're hoping for. She's fit and she's active and
she's healthy and she's young so she's got all of that on her
He said the nursing staff were happy with the progress she
was making. Robertson and Samantha's mother Sherry Coulson
were meeting doctors last night for the latest prognosis.
A family friend, who did not want to be identified, said
Samantha was a "strong wee girl".
"We're all hoping she's got the strength to pull through."
She had spoken to the girl's mother yesterday, who also
"They put her in an induced coma and basically they're just
waiting for a couple of days to hear her progress. So
basically it's just a matter of waiting at the moment."
Police said Samantha had overshot the end of a driveway and
ploughed into the path of a car on the 100km/h road.
Sergeant Wayne Paxton came across the crash as he drove home.
"It was pretty chaotic. She was still on the road, it had
obviously only just happened. She was in a pretty bad way,"
he told the Herald this week.
He had bandaged the worst of the girl's injuries, while her
mother sat beside her constantly talking to her and urging
her to be brave. "She was distraught, but she did a really
good job. The injuries she was looking at no mother or father
wants to see."
Samantha is a student at Pukekawa School. The board of
trustees chairman Chris Ahearn said the school and local
community were in shock.
"It's certainly close to the bone because it's a small
community and people know each other so it's certainly a sad
state of affairs and we just wish her well and want her to
get better soon."
A spate of cycling deaths in recent years has sparked calls
for more investment in cycle safety. Eight cyclists died in
New Zealand in road crashes in 2012 and last year.
- Herald on Sunday/additional reporting John Weekes