16 Feb 2023

Second firefighter caught in Muriwai landslide has died, Fire and Emergency says

11:09 pm on 16 February 2023
Damage to trees in Muriwai in wake of Cyclone Gabrielle

Damage to trees in Muriwai in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: RNZ / Tom Taylor

The second firefighter caught in the Muriwai landslide has died in hospital, Fire and Emergency says.

It takes the death toll in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle to six.

Craig Stevens was taken to hospital in a critical condition on Monday night.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand chief executive Kerry Gregory said FENZ was still coming to terms with the news of his death.

All of Fire and Emergency would feel his loss, Gregory said.

His heart went out to Stevens' family, he said.

Yesterday Fire and Emergency confirmed that a body retrieved from the slip was Stevens' colleague, Dave van Zwanenberg.

National Emergency Management Agency advice:

  • Put safety first. Don't take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water. Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.
  • Do not try to walk, play, swim, or drive in floodwater: even water just 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet, and half a metre of water will carry away most vehicles.
  • If you have evacuated, please stay where you are until you are given the all-clear to go home.
  • If you don't need to evacuate, support those who do by staying home, staying off roads and staying safe.
  • If you are not able to contact your whānau in the heavily affected areas go to Police 105 website and complete the inquiry form or phone 105 and remember to update if you reconnect through other means.
  • Throw away food and drinking water that has come into contact with floodwater as it is often contaminated and can make you sick.
  • If you are without power eat the food from your fridge first, then your freezer. Then eat the food in the cupboard or your emergency kit.
  • People should stay up to date with the forecasts from MetService and continue to follow the advice of civil defence and emergency services.
  • A National State of Emergency is in place for an initial period of seven days and applies to regions that have declared a local State of Emergency.

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