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Man who died in fall from vehicle on Auckland's Southern Motorway identified

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:56PM
The man who died in a fall from a van on Auckland's Southern Motorway was Sauitua Apolinalio. (Photo / Supplied)
The man who died in a fall from a van on Auckland's Southern Motorway was Sauitua Apolinalio. (Photo / Supplied)

The man who died in a fall from a van on Auckland's Southern Motorway was Sauitua Apolinalio.

The 22-year-old died after the fall on May 9 that forced the closure of the motorway for more than two hours. A police helicopter twice landed on the motorway as part of the emergency response.

Apolinalio was intellectually disabled and a client of Framework Services Ltd, a subsidiary of the Framework Trust, which provides community based services to support people who are mentally ill or have intellectual disabilities.

Framework is conducting an internal investigation into the death.

Its chairman, Fuimaono Tuiasau, said: "Framework Services are co-operating with authorities' inquiries, and we will be conducting an internal review of the incident and our procedures to improve if necessary our practices and processes."

Acting CEO Beverley Pollard has said the company was working with police and therefore unable to comment any further.

WorkSafe has opened an inquiry.

A witness to the incident said she saw a man fall from a white van that was travelling at 100km/h in the far right lane at 11.15am.

The woman, who was in the second car behind the van, said all of the cars behind it came to a sudden stop.

"I have no idea how that happened. It was unbelievable how the man didn't get run over by the truck that was on the left lane, as it happened so suddenly," she said.

All citybound lanes were closed on the motorway after the fall, causing lengthy traffic delays from 11.15am to 1.30pm.

The police Eagle helicopter had to land in the middle of the motorway to provide immediate first aid and to assist with traffic control.

A police spokeswoman said the Eagle helicopter was requested to assist because it would be the quickest way to get to the scene.

"While it is not a common occurrence, Eagle has previously landed on main roads during critical incidents when required."

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