May 29, 2023

Firefighter rescued from Muriwai house collapse named

Watch: New footage shows the extent of the damage in Muriwai from Cyclone Gabrielle.

The firefighter who was rescued from a collapsed house in Auckland’s Muriwai has been named.

Craig Stevens was rescued after he and another firefighter became trapped in a slip while investigating flooding at a house on Motutara Road. 

On Wednesday Fire and Emergency New Zealand officials said Stevens is still in a critical but stable condition in hospital. 

A search is still underway for the other firefighter who Newshub understands is Dave van Zwanenberg. 

Stevens and van Zwanenberg were in the flooded house when a landslide occurred causing it to collapse on Monday night. 

Stevens was rescued but van Zwanenberg has been missing since the collapse. Officials said the search and rescue mission to find him resumed on Wednesday after it was halted because of safety concerns.

FENZ CEO Kerry Gregory told media the longer the search goes on the graver their concerns grow. 

Muriwai was hit hard by Cyclone Gabrielle on Monday night and Tuesday with several houses being completely destroyed by slips. 

The ferocity of the cyclone saw hundreds of residents evacuated and roads blocked. 

One resident told Newshub the entire community is thinking of the firefighters and their families. 

“Yea it’s horrendous and we’ve got some friends who are not doing well at all… It’s heavy,” evacuee Brendan Christensen said.

“It’s the volunteer firefighters I’m thinking of… Pulling people out of a house and they get caught out,” Ross Grant lives on Motutara Road and said the cyclone hit so hard it was cracking trees. 

“We got the message that something had happened up the road and then our neighbour, he’s one of the volunteers here, gave us the head’s up to vacate and get out,” Grant said. “You could hear all the trees all cracking and starting to move.”

Cyclone Gabrielle smashed into the upper North Island on Sunday sparking widespread flooding, destruction and evacuations. 

Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty declared a state of national emergency on Tuesday – just the third time in New Zealand’s history that such an instrument has been needed.

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes