A Miramar Rangers football player is loaded into a courier van after the ambulance is unable to reach the field.
Wellington Free Ambulance and the Capital and Coast District Health Board have disputed claims that anti vaccination protesters prevented an ambulance from reaching a seriously injured footballer.
Miramar Rangers player Jorge Akers suffered a serious injury to his leg at the game against Wellington Olympic at Dave Farrington Park in Miramar on Saturday afternoon. Photos appear to show – and spectators confirmed – that he was taken to hospital in a courier van.
Those at the game said a loudspeaker announcement told fans ambulances were unable to leave the hospital due to Covid-19 protesters blocking them.
But there is confusion over the claims with neither police, the hospital, nor Wellington Free Ambulance able to confirm the incident. On Saturday night a spokesperson for the Capital and Coast District Health Board said it was unaware of any protest action that disrupted hospital care, and that none had been on hospital premises.
And a Wellington Free Ambulance spokeswoman told Stuff an ambulance attended a football game at the park and took a patient to hospital. The crew did not report there being any delays, she said.
Police have also confirmed they received no reports of protesters holding up ambulances.
Coach Scott Hales said he was unable to comment.
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Spectator Glenn Kirby said the game was paused for “a significant time” after Akers’ “horrible” injury.
He was beginning to wonder why an ambulance had not arrived when it was announced over the speakers that it had not been able to leave the hospital due to protesters, he said.
There were protests against Covid-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates across the country on Saturday, including at Te Ngākau Civic Square in Wellington.
The game recommenced after Akers was taken off the field in a courier van, Kirby said.