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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3 (July 24, 1926)

Accident At Blackball Bridge — (Grey River.) — A Plucky Rescue

Accident At Blackball Bridge
(Grey River.)
A Plucky Rescue.

On the morning of 2nd June, an accident which might have had a fatal termination, occurred at the Blackball Bridge. Bridgeman H. W. L. Wisdom and Casual Bridgeman J. S. Furness were working on a stage under the gantry removing temporary waling from the pier, when, as a result of the waling slipping and causing one of the needles to release itself, the stage on which the men were working fell into the river, throwing both men with it.

Furness was stunned by the fall and drifted about 150 feet below the bridge. Carpenter W. T. Ryan, of the Maintenance Works staff, Greymouth, dived into the river from the gantry (a distance of 25 feet) and saved Furness who was drifting down stream just under the surface of the water. The latter was in a very exhausted condition when brought ashore, and medical aid was summoned. After artificial respiration had been successfully applied the unfortunate man was taken to his home.

Bridgeman Wisdom swam down the river and was picked up by the Department's boat.

From inquiries made from those who witnessed the accident, there is no doubt that, but for the plucky and prompt action of Carpenter Ryan, Furness would have been drowned. It is understood that Ryan's workmates and a few local residents have collected about £10 for presentation to Ryan who is a widower with a young family.

The Board has granted Carpenter Ryan a reward of £10 to mark the Department's appreciation of his heroic action. It is understood that particulars of the rescue have been sent to the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand.