Two Filipinos working as fruit pickers in New Zealand were killed when the vehicle they were riding in was hit by a train, the Philippine Embassy in Auckland confirmed yesterday.
Three Filipinos also on board the car were injured in the incident.
In a radio interview, Philippine Ambassador to Auckland Jesus Domingo said the incident occurred at around 8:15 a.m. yesterday (3:15 a.m. Manila time) in the Bay of Plenty when the victims were about to cross the railway. Bay of Plenty is more than two-hour drive southeast from the capital Auckland.
The Philippine envoy said two of the three injured Filipinos were seriously hurt but are already in stable condition.
Domingo, who was saddened by the incident, noted that the Filipinos had just arrived in New Zealand last week and were on their way to work when the incident happened.
As a standard procedure, the names of the victims are being withheld pending notification of their next of kin and their employers.
Reports emanating from New Zealand said local police would examine the scene and a probe into the circumstances of the crash was underway.
Witnesses in the area said the tracks were “notorious” with no mechanical arms to come down to stop drivers from negotiating the track.
One witness described the place as “very dangerous” as they have quite used to hearing similar crashes happening there.
“If you’re not a local, you don’t know to check for trains,” one of the witnesses told a news outlet in New Zealand. (Roy Mabasa)