The recent death of Summer Frank in a farm effluent pond is a tragedy. I do not wish to make light of that at all. However I must point out a little-known fact that most of the media has ignored (I certainly haven’t seen it on the TV news).
Mr Mullan [the farm owner] is upset that a seven-wire fence around the paddock containing the effluent pond has not been mentioned until now.
“It was human error why the kid drowned. The fence is there, the gate was open.”
He says the gate separating the pond from the house was left open most of the time and Summer and Brodie found their way to the pond.
Mr Frank’s perspective (Summer’s father):
Asked what he thought had happened to cause the tragedy, Mr Frank said “I don’t know, those kids are just so quick.
“The house is in a separate paddock from the ponds. I built the fence between the house and tanker track and ponds, a seven-wire fence with four hot wires, but it’s a dairy farm fence, the kids can get underneath.
But it took only a couple of minutes for them to toddle nearly 200m to the pond.
So the house was nearly 200m from the effluent pond (a fact concealed by the careful angle of shots taken for TV3 news last night, which made it look like the pond was just at the end of the lawn). And they are separated by a seven-wire fence with four hot wires (ie a very good fence for a dairy farm, given that 1-2 hot wires is perfectly sufficient for dairy cows in most circumstances), and a track.
Note that although the children could get through the fence, children can get through any farm fence, even sheep netting – children can get anywhere if you take your eyes off them for a second or two. No fence is totally reliable, especially (as Mr Mullan alleges) if you leave the gate open.
Just as in Gaza, the true situation is not necessarily what the media initially portray, you need to wait for the full facts before making a judgement. And the facts emerging in this case are quite interesting.