A second firefighter who was critically injured following a landslide at a flooded property in Auckland’s Muriwai on Monday night has died in hospital.
Muriwai firefighter, Craig Stevens and his colleague, Dave van Zwanenberg, were conducting investigative duties at a home on Motutara Road when they became trapped after a landslide caused the house to collapse.
Mr Stevens was rescued by fellow crew members, while Mr Van Zwanenberg’s body was found on Wednesday.
Mr Stevens was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) today confirmed he passed away overnight.
“It was with a heavy heart last night we received the news that our Muriwai firefighter Craig Stevens, who was rescued in the early hours of Tuesday morning from the Muriwai landslide, would no longer be with us,” said Fire and Emergency Chief Executive, Kerry Gregory.
She said Mr Stevens died in hospital last night, surrounded by his loved ones, after “fighting valiantly till the end”.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Craig’s family, and with the family of his firefighter friend Dave van Zwanenberg, whose body was recovered on Wednesday,” said Ms Gregory.
“This tragic incident has been a heavy blow for the two families, their friends, colleagues in the Muriwai Volunteer Fire Brigade, and the Muriwai community; and it touches all of us, not just in the Fire and Emergency NZ whanau, but emergency services Internationally and all New Zealanders.
“This is an awful reminder of the risks our firefighters and those involved in emergency response are exposed to every day while protecting and supporting others.
“I have received messages of condolences for the tragic loss of our firefighters from far and wide and I endorse the words of our Minister Barbara Edmonds, in that we thank the families for sharing their loved ones with all New Zealanders and we are indebted to them.”
She said Mr Stevens’ family has requested privacy at this difficult time.
“Craig and Dave died helping others, working with their team-mates for the benefit of their community. As we mourn them both, we will think of them with pride.”
“E te ika hui rua. Moe mai rā.
“As we work through our loss, I would also like to acknowledge everybody else who has been affected by the events of this week across the motu, particularly those who have lost their homes, communities, and tragically, loved ones.
“There is still uncertainty for many of us about what the immediate future holds.
“Kia kaha, our thoughts are with you all.”