Couple killed in West Coast train crash named

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 13:32 22/05/2014
west coast train crash
JASON BLAIR

TRAIN CRASH: Two people died when a train collided with a car north of Reefton, on the South Island's West Coast, just before 1pm on Wednesday.

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Police have released the names of the husband and wife killed when their car collided with a train on the West Coast.

Reefton couple Robert James Jacobs, 66, and Marieta Ocba Jacobs, 43, were killed after their car hit a coal train on Landing Creek Rd, just north of Reefton, just before 1pm yesterday.

A police spokeswoman said Marieta Jacobs had recently moved to New Zealand, and the couple "hadn't been married that long". 

Police said formal identification of Marieta Jacobs was yet to be completed as her family were overseas.

The spokeswoman did not know which country Jacobs moved from.

The crash happened at a level crossing, which has give-way signs. 

A neighbouring farmer told The Press said it had been raining heavily at the time of the crash.

Police said a serious crash investigation was underway and the deaths would be referred to the coroner. 

National rail safety charity TrackSAFE NZ said the incident was a tragic reminder of the safety risks at level crossings.

Manager Megan Drayton said four people had died in collisions with trains in New Zealand this year.

There had been 228 collisions between cars and trains at public road level crossings in the 10 years to January 31.

The cause of yesterday's crash was not yet known, but most level crossing collisions happened because people could not see the train or failed to look for it, she said.

"Whether that's due to distraction or inattention, it's very hard to tell." 

Most happened close to the driver's home also, which could suggest "a level of complacency".

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- The Press

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