Campers’ brake lines cut: ‘They could’ve killed us’
HWatch the video at nzherald.co.nz Young freedom campers visiting Gisborne from Germany fear they could have been killed after someone cut the brake lines on their three vans.
Stephan Krogman, 19, said they had been at Makorori Beach, just north of Gisborne, for about an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon when they decided to go to the laundromat.
“When I went to drive off, my foot on the brake pedal went straight to the floor.”
He immediately pulled on the handbrake to stop the van.
“We had a look underneath and saw the cut in the brake line, but thought at first it might have been some sort of mechanical issue.”
The group stayed at the beach overnight. But yesterday they found brake fluid on the ground under the other two vans and found cuts on those brake lines as well.
“This is a really bad thing for someone to have done,” Krogman said.
“For someone to do this for no reason . . . we cannot explain it or understand it.
“They could have killed us.”
David Piontkowski, 20, said they were mystified about it.
“Some people who don’t know us want to hurt us this bad. Why?
“Everyone has been so friendly to us since we have been in New Zealand. There is no reason we can think of for this to happen.”
Birte Grutzmacher, 19, said they felt scared.
“We have had no trouble with anyone. We do not know why anyone would want to do this.”
The police said the incident involved a Toyota Hilux van, a Nissan Largo people mover and a Toyota van and happened some time between 3pm and 4pm.
“We want to hear from anyone who was in the carpark at the bottom of Makorori Hill, or who was driving by and saw anything suspicious,” said Detective Sergeant Kevin Ford.
The tourists’ three vehicles were in the carpark at the southern end of the popular surf beach.
“This was obviously a very dangerous thing to do.”
Ford said there must have been some “disaffected” person out there who took exception to the presence of freedom campers.
“He or she would have had to climb under the three vehicles to cut the brake lines.
“Whoever has done this needs their head read because the potential for harm to people in those vehicles and other road users was very high,” he said.
“This is absolutely blockhead behaviour and we want to catch up with whoever did it.”
Stephan Krogman (left), Birte Grutzmacher, Jan Asmus, Isabella Mayer and David Piontkowski say everyone they have met in New Zealand so far has been really friendly and they can’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt them.
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