ODT gets through - but only just

'Otago Daily Times' circulation manager James Smith tries to find a way through the Pigroot snow...
'Otago Daily Times' circulation manager James Smith tries to find a way through the Pigroot snow yesterday. Photos by Gerard O'Brien.
'Otago Daily Times' delivery driver Nathan Williams is finally on his way after a helping hand...
'Otago Daily Times' delivery driver Nathan Williams is finally on his way after a helping hand from East Otago Transport driver Gerard Sheat yesterday.

The Otago Daily Times gets through. But, sometimes, only just.

 

 

Central Otago and Maniototo readers who woke up to a newspaper yesterday could have had little idea of the drama behind their delivery.

ODT delivery driver Nathan Williams left Dunedin at 1.30am yesterday with 1500 newspapers for readers in Lawrence, Roxburgh, Alexandra, Omakau, Oturehua, Naseby and Ranfurly.

He is usually back in Dunedin by 9.15am after the run, but yesterday he only just made it home in time for dinner.

And that was thanks to a little help from some friends.

''It was pretty easy going in Lawrence and there was no snow from Roxburgh through to Alexandra. But I hit snow in Omakau and immediately got stuck,'' Mr Williams said yesterday.

''I opened the toolbox, but there were no chains. So I just carried on and kept getting stuck. I've been doing that run for 15 years and I've never got stuck like that before. It was a bit embarrassing.

''Fortunately, the snowplough had done a great job on the Maniototo, but then I got stuck again at the top of the Pigroot. I've never seen so much snow up the Pigroot. There was over a metre of snow on top of the rubbish bins,'' he said.

''For the first four hours, I kept digging myself out and moving no more than 2m, then digging myself out again.

"There was also no cellphone coverage and my wife, Desiree, was on the warpath. I had 12 missed calls from her and she was a wee bit upset.''

ODT circulation manager James Smith made a mercy dash to Mr Williams with some snow chains, but the snow was far too deep for them to be effective.

''Our deliverers make a huge effort to get the paper out and we make a huge effort to make sure they get home safe again, so we can do it all again tomorrow,'' Mr Smith said.

Mr Williams remained stuck in the snow from 7.30am until 3pm, when East Otago Transport driver Gerard Sheat, of Palmerston, saved the day by reaching him on a tractor with a snowplough.

''I'd never have got through without him. I'd have been there for the night,'' a grateful Mr Williams said.

''I'm usually back in town by 9.15am, but I didn't get home till 5.30pm. I think I'd still be stuck there if it wasn't for him.''

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

 

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