Raymond Tuporo died in a car crash in which live wires
obstructed rescuers for more than two and a half hours.
Photo / Facebook
Emergency workers have described how they watched signs
of life ebb away from an Auckland man trapped inside a wreckage
surrounded by live power-lines.
Meanwhile "anxious" lines company workers looked for the
The emergency workers couldn't reach Raymond Tuporo for more
than two hours and the 26-year-old died as a result of severe
injuries suffered in the September 2, 2012, crash.
A coroner's inquest in Auckland today heard Mr Tuporo, known
as Ray, lost control on a corner, drove over a curb and
smashed into a power pole on Neilson St in Onehunga about
A police investigation found Mr Tuporo was driving about
120km/h in a 50km/h zone and had a blood alcohol level of
more than twice the legal limit.
Ambulance officer Andrew Christie said when he arrived at the
scene Mr Tuporo was severely injured and only his upper chest
and head were visible.
"He was able to lift his head and respond to us with
incomprehensible words and groans. His breathing was rapid
and shallow." Medical staff kept regular checks on Mr Tuporo,
from as close as they could get to him, but his responses
Shortly before 3am, Northpower employees arrived and said
they would isolate the affected area in 15 to 20 minutes.
But more than an hour later, at 4.10am, they still hadn't
Mr Christie said the workers were "looking anxious" and said
they couldn't find the appropriate power box.
By 4.35am power was off and cutting equipment was put to work
to free Mr Tuporo.
Five minutes later ambulance staff finally reached him, but
he was dead, Mr Christie said.
Police Senior Sergeant Simon Welsh was the first officer at
He told the inquest he arrived to find the silver Mitsubishi
wrapped around a concrete power pole which had bent in the
impact and come down on top of the car.
"Numerous power lines were hanging down and draped along the
top of the car. Fire advised me that the lines were live and
not to touch the car."
He said he requested an urgent response from Vector to
isolate the lines, then went as close as he could to the car
to try to establish the identity of the driver.
Inquest Officer Sergeant Heather Ruddell said Mr Tuporo had
been out drinking at a party in Otara, leaving about 1.45am
and dropping off an acquaintance on his way home.
The acquaintance told police Mr Tuporo was "wasted".
Onehunga fire senior station officer John Roberts said when
he arrived at the scene about 2.25am he could see one power
line 100mm thick hanging down inside the wreck of the car.
He believed the line could carry between 11,000 and 33,000
"It clearly posed a deadly danger to emergency services and
the occupant of the vehicle."
Mr Tuporo's mother Glenda Owen was at the inquest today and
said outside that she hoped questions she had about her son's
death would be answered.
"Somebody has to be held accountable," she said.
"I want to see justice for my son."
Coroner Morag McDowell said the inquest would be held in
three stages throughout the year. It continues tomorrow.