Dead men had only just met

CRASH SCENE: Police and fire brigade officers attend the scene of the crash near the Pelorus Bridge.
CRASH SCENE: Police and fire brigade officers attend the scene of the crash near the Pelorus Bridge.

The two men who died on Wednesday in a head-on collision on State Highway 6 near Pelorus Bridge had only just met, police say.

The two dead men, one from France and the other from Germany, were travelling with a 25-year-old German woman toward Nelson when their Mitsubishi station wagon crossed the centre line and collided with a 4WD ute just after 1pm.

Tasman District police communications manager Barbara Dunn said yesterday the 33-year-old Marlborough woman who was alone in the ute was in a stable condition in Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim. The woman had a broken ankle and required surgery. She also had significant bruising to her body and face.

The 25-year-old German woman who was a passenger in the front of the station wagon, was also in a stable condition in Wairau Hospital. She had a broken collarbone and was also badly bruised.

The German woman told police she and the two men had only met recently and were sharing a ride. Two of them were going to the Abel Tasman while the other was heading to Nelson.

Autopsy examinations were being done in Nelson yesterday on both the dead men.

Police were having difficulty tracking down one of the men's parents but hoped to release their names today after next of kin have been notified, Ms Dunn said.

The crash happened on the Nelson side of the Pelorus Bridge on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson.

Marlborough highway patrol head Sergeant Barrie Greenall said the stretch of road was no worse than other parts of SH6 between Havelock and Rai Valley, but caution was needed.

"It does take a certain amount of care because of the undulations and corners," he said. "It is a complicated section of road."

New Zealand Transport Agency national media manager Andy Knackstedt said there were 32 serious injury crashes and six fatal crashes on the 73km stretch of road between Havelock and Nelson between 2007 and 2011.

Serious crash investigators were back at the crash scene yesterday to establish what happened in the crash.

Pelorus campground manager Stephanie Neal said people needed to be careful coming off the Pelorus Bridge.

"It's not a race track," she said. "Some people don't realise you have to slow down."

A lot of accidents near the area were caused because people did not drive to the conditions, she said.

"There was no rain for ages, so it can get quite slippery," she said. "It's not a corner you can go over at 100kmh."

Senior Sergeant Peter Payne, of Blenheim, said on Wednesday the weather conditions at the time of the crash were "atrocious".

It appeared at least one of the men was not wearing a seatbelt, he said.

The Marlborough Express