Death at special ops drill
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