Death at spe­cial ops drill

The Southland Times - - NEWS -

A mem­ber of the De­fence Force Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Force died dur­ing a counter-ter­ror­ism train­ing ex­er­cise in the wa­ters off the tip of the Coro­man­del Penin­sula.

It is un­der­stood Sergeant Wayne Tay­lor, a fa­ther of four, fell about 5 me­tres and broke his neck dur­ing the op­er­a­tion in­volv­ing a con­tainer ship near Chan­nel Is­land in the Hau­raki Gulf early on Fri­day.

A wit­ness de­scribed see­ing three mil­i­tary-grade in­flat­able boats full of black-clad mil­i­tary per­son­nel car­ry­ing as­sault ri­fles land on the shores of Port Jack­son, at the tip of the penin­sula, as dawn broke.

‘‘We got wo­ken up when three in­flat­able RIBs came on­shore, they came hurtling in,’’ the man, who did not wish to be named, said.

About 20 per­son­nel jumped out, bring­ing the in­jured of­fi­cer ashore. They be­gan ro­tat­ing CPR on the man on the beach.

‘‘I be­lieve, from all ac­counts, they were on an ex­er­cise on a con­tainer boat out by Chan­nel Is­land,’’ the wit­ness said.

‘‘We be­lieve he fell some­thing like 5 me­tres, and he’d bro­ken his neck, so there wasn’t much chance.’’

Tay­lor joined the Royal New Zealand In­fantry Reg­i­ment as a mem­ber of the Army Re­serve in 1993, join­ing the Reg­u­lar Force in Oc­to­ber 1997. He served in East Ti­mor and Afghanistan.

‘‘Many ... will re­mem­ber him as an out­stand­ing sol­dier, leader, fa­ther, fam­ily man, and friend to many, as well as be­ing an all-round top bloke,’’ army chief Ma­jor Gen­eral Peter Kelly said.

Tay­lor was mar­ried and had four chil­dren.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing be­half of the coroner. on

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