About 20 sheep and three bulls died after a stock truck accident near Kaikoura yesterday afternoon.
Traffic was disrupted for several hours at Oaro after a trailer unit on the truck rolled, blocking both lanes.
The accident happened just after 2pm, south of the Oaro overbridge. Police say the northbound Stocklines truck and trailer was coming downhill and had just negotiated a left-hand bend. The trailer unit, containing sheep and cattle, tipped on its side and came to rest across the road.
A number of livestock were killed or badly injured in the crash; some were put down by a veterinarian at the scene.
The 26-year-old driver of the truck, his partner and her daughter, who were travelling with him, all escaped injury, said St John Kaikoura team manager Don Wright.
Emergency services were at the scene for more than three hours. However, one-lane traffic was able to filter through once the trailer had been moved to the side of the road.
Constable Andy Grant, of Kaikoura police, said the truck was heading to Picton from Ashburton carrying more than 100 sheep and 26 cattle. The cause of the accident would not be known until a full investigation had been carried out, he said.
Mr Grant said the public's patience was appreciated throughout the cleanup, and he also thanked the Kaikoura Volunteer Fire Brigade and St John staff for their "awesome" assistance.
It is estimated about 20 sheep and three bulls either died after the truck rolled or were so badly injured that they had to be killed. The front truck unit, which was full of stock, remained upright in the accident
- The Marlborough Express