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‘A rare breed’: Paul Kingi emerges as hero of New Zealand volcano tragedy

3aw mornings

Paul Kingi has emerged as one of the biggest heroes of the New Zealand volcano tragedy.

One of his former workmates has told Neil Mitchell Mr Kingi was “single-handedly responsible” for getting more than 20 people off White Island.

They all almost would have certainly died otherwise.

“I think there will be some people, without doubt, who owe him their lives.”

Mr Kingi, a skipper on the White Island Tours boat, was on his way back to port when the volcano erupted.

He immediately turned his boat around.

“He was there within minutes of the eruption and went on to the island,” Rick Pollock, who ran White Island Marine Charters for 40 years, told Neil Mitchell.

“To my knowledge, he would have pulled in excess of 20 people off the island, himself, single-handed.

“They were all injured, to some degree, obviously some worse than others.”

Mr Pollock described Mr Kingi as an “exceptional” person and he wasn’t surprised, at all, to learn of what he’d done.

“He’s one of those rare breeds,” he said.

“If you’re ever in trouble, that’s the guy you’d want on your team, I can tell you.”

Click PLAY below to hear more of Paul’s heroics

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