Motorcyclist killed in crash with tourists

Motorcyclist killed in crash with tourists

The collision 20km south of Oamaru on State Highway 1 claimed the motorcyclist's life and left six other people with injuries. Photo / Otago Daily Times
The collision 20km south of Oamaru on State Highway 1 claimed the motorcyclist's life and left six other people with injuries.
A motorcyclist is dead after the driver of a rental vehicle apparently crossed double yellow lines on to the wrong side of the road, causing a four-vehicle crash south of Oamaru.

Police are yet to confirm details of those involved in the crash, but it is understood two foreign nationals were the occupants of a
rented Toyota Corolla.

The car appears to have collided with an oncoming motorcyclist and a Rural Post van about 5pm yesterday.

The passenger of the rental car had to be cut from the Toyota and was flown to Dunedin Hospital with serious injuries.

The motorcyclist died at the scene, while a travelling companion was last night being supported by police.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said 10 officers, including a serious crash investigator from Invercargill and detectives from Dunedin, were piecing together the "traumatic" crash.

The investigation was still in its early stages, but it appeared the red 2012 Corolla was overtaking at the time of the crash, he said.

"Obviously they've failed to see, or they haven't recognised, the no passing lines and they've crossed those, which is a fatal mistake," he said.

"It's an extremely bad decision that has consequences for a lot of people, some unfortunately forever."

The crash, about 20km south of Oamaru near the intersection of Waianakarua Rd, caused injuries to seven people, including the deceased.

The driver of the Corolla was taken to Oamaru Hospital by ambulance with moderate injuries, while the occupants of the two other vehicles involved - the Rural Post van and a black Nissan Tiida - sustained minor injuries.

Mr McCoy could not confirm the nationality of the occupants of the Corolla last night.
He called for any witnesses to the crash to contact police and thanked members of the public for their help at the scene.

Anthony Watson, of Oamaru, was heading north on the highway when he came across the crash about 5.15pm. He did not see the collision happen, but he and his wife were among those who stopped to provide help before emergency services arrived.

"It was ... it was chaos," he said. "It just seemed to take forever for the ambulances and everything to get there."

He said he comforted the driver of the Corolla, while the man's partner was cut from the wreckage of the vehicle by emergency services.

The pair were Chinese nationals, he said.

A Fire Service spokesman said firefighters from Hampden, Oamaru and Weston attended the scene and used cutting gear to extricate the passenger of the Corolla. She was "heavily trapped" in the vehicle and it took more than an hour to free her, he said.

A St John spokeswoman said two ambulances, a doctor and a rescue helicopter attended the scene.

Mr McCoy said the incident provided a sombre reminder of the importance of adhering to the road rules. "Yellow lines are there for a reason," he said.

Welfare support services were available to witnesses to the crash and he urged anyone who needed it to contact police.

The road remained closed late last night and detours will remain in place until further notice. However, they are not suitable for heavy motor vehicles.
It was too early to comment on what charges might be laid, Mr McCoy said. "Obviously inquiries are going on at the moment and any offences that are identified, we will look at charges being laid."