Girl killed cycling down stairs

A 10-year-old Hamilton girl has died after cycling down a flight of stairs in Papakowhai, near Porirua, Thursday afternoon 6th January 2011.

The girl was cycling to the dairy about 1pm with her aunty and cousin, whom she was visiting.

Police said it appears the girl was unfamiliar with the terrain and cycled ahead of her aunty down a smooth pathway leading further onto a set of stairs. She then cycled over the stairs and fell, landing some 12 to 15 steps down the stairs.

Ambulance staff were unable to resuscitate her. Police have confirmed the girl was wearing a helmet.

Police have not yet released her name as next of kin and other relatives overseas have yet to be informed.

Kapiti Mana acting area commander Inspector Soni Malaulau said police are liaising with the family and ensuring they are kept informed.

"This appears to be a very tragic accident and as a community we share in the family's grief, particularly when it involves the death of young children."

The death has been referred to the coroner.


Dominion Post 8/1/11

The wooden railing on a Porirua pathway where a 10-year-old girl died in a cycling accident has been etched with the letters RIP, while the remnants of attempts to save her lie nearby.

Medical wrappings left by ambulance officers were still visible in the Papakowhai walkway, where a girl died after cycling on to steps and falling.

She careered over the edge and fell 12 to 15 steps downhill, and died there on Thursday afternoon. Ambulance officers were unable to resuscitate her.

Last night police had yet to name the girl, who had arrived in Porirua from Hamilton to stay with relatives the day before. She was going to the dairy with her aunt and a cousin about 1pm when she cycled ahead on the smooth concrete path.

The accident happened on steep wooden steps on the pathway, which runs off Cromarty Place in Papakowhai.

A neighbour overlooking the accident site said he came home about 3pm to find three to four police cars and two ambulances crammed into the tiny cul-de-sac. Acting area commander Inspector Soni Malaulau said the girl was wearing a helmet, but was riding a cousin's bike.

The girl had come to Porirua with her uncle, and her parents had rushed down from Hamilton after hearing the news, he said.

Police were investigating the accident, which has been referred to the coroner. Mr Malaulau said it appeared her unfamiliarity with the area was a factor.

It is understood the family had gathered with the girl's body yesterday, and were preparing to travel back with her to Hamilton for the funeral.

Papakowhai School principal Kevin Win said he had never heard of an accident on the walkway, which was used by about 10 to 15 families as access to the school.

He did not know if local children rode bikes along the path, but said that he wouldn't because it was "very steep".

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett said the council would do anything it could to help with investigations.

"There are no words that can adequately comfort a family at a time like this but our thoughts and prayers are with them. We will do anything we can to assist with the investigation of this tragic accident."

The walkway, which has concrete paving and passes through a bush-covered hillside, is managed by the council, and chief executive Gary Simpson said it was well maintained, passing an inspection about a year ago "with flying colours".