Three men had a miraculous escape from a crash near Nelson that destroyed their car after it flew over a vehicle-prevention barrier, rolled over a bank and into the sea early today.
Sergeant Blair Hall said emergency services were called to Boulder Bank Dr, north of Nelson at 1.30am to the vehicle crash near the North Nelson water treatment plant.
The road provides vehicle access from State Highway 6 at Wakapuaka to a car parking area at the Boulder Bank.
Cars are prevented from being driven on the bank itself by the placement of large 400mm diameter telegraph poles.
Hall said the impact of the crash, in which speed and alcohol were likely factors, smashed a barrier pole in half and scattered others across the Boulder Bank.
He said the late model V8 Holden Adventra left the gravel road and rolled several times which severed the front axle of the car before it came to rest in the sea on the other side of the Boulder Bank.
He said the car was "completely destroyed" from the impact, but the occupants, who included two Nelson men and a Tauranga man, were able to get themselves free and call for help.
They were taken to Nelson Hospital with a range of minor to moderate injuries, but were discharged this morning, a hospital spokeswoman said.
"Initial indications are that speed and alcohol were factors and it is disappointing that the message is still not getting through.
"It is only luck that police are not having to advise a family of an unnecessary death," Hall said.
St John team manager Gary Tobin said one of the men was taken to hospital by a private vehicle before the ambulance arrived and the other two were taken to hospital by St John ambulance.
Tobin said the two men taken by ambulance, aged 27, received minor to moderate injuries.
He said they were "not easy to deal with" and emergency staff were not able to get much information from them. The investigation was continuing and serious driving charges were likely.
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