June 4, 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle death toll rises after deaths in Naper and Hastings

Watch: Newshub's Saturday coverage of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle has reached double figures after police confirmed two deaths on Sunday morning. 

The first death notified by police was a person who died in their home on Thursday in the Napier suburb of Onekawa. 

The second death was a person who died in Crownthorpe in Hastings on Saturday. 

Police said both people are believed to have died in circumstances related to Cyclone Gabrielle and 

Police said the deaths have been referred to the Coroner.

The latest deaths take Cyclone Gabrielle’s death toll to 11. 

One of the victims was the father of former New Zealand Kiwis star Issac Luke, George Luke. 

George was returning to Hastings from Rotorua when his car was hit by debris on the Taihape-Napier road.

Another victim was a two-year-old girl who died after being swept away by the deluge in Eskdale, Hawke’s Bay, her mother confirmed. 

A volunteer firefighter, Craig Stevens, died after being rescued from a collapsed house in Muriwai earlier this week. Stevens was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but succumbed to his injuries on Thursday. 

He and another firefighter, Dave van Zwanenberg, became trapped in a slip while investigating flooding at a house on Motutara Rd. Van Zwanenberg was also killed.

A person also died following a landslip on a rural property in Matahorua Road, Putorino on Tuesday afternoon.

It’s feared the death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle could continue to rise over the coming days, with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins warning in a press conference on Thursday that people “need to prepare for the likelihood there will be more fatalities”.

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