Man injured in dramatic car crash

Last updated 09:17 17/07/2014
JOHN HAWKINS/Southland Times

A car which a slammed into a tree splitting in two, north of Mataura in Southland.

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FRONT HALF: The front half of the car that split in two after hitting a tree north of Mataura this morning. The "very, very lucky" driver sustained moderate injuries.

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Police are astounded a Southland man survived a crash that left his car split in half this morning.

The 20-year-old driver was heading south to Mataura from Gore at 5.30am on State Highway 1 this morning when his car left the road and hit a tree.

Sergeant Clint Wright, of Gore, said the driver appeared to have crossed the centre line and travelled across about 40m of grass before slamming into a tree.

The car then bounced off the tree and slid a further 10m before hitting another tree. The second impact was enough to shear the car in two.

The front half of the car was beside the second tree while the back half was 20m further down the road, Wright said.  

The driver sustained moderate chest and back injuries and was flown to Southland Hospital by helicopter.

''He is very very lucky, very lucky,'' Wright said.    

Initially, it was believed a second person was  missing after the crash.

However, after a thorough search of the area, police did not believe that was the case.

Police investigations were continuing into the cause of the crash and the investigation would include a test for the presence of alcohol, Wright said.

Senior Sergeant Matt Scoles, of Dunedin, said the highway was closed for a short time but was now open to a single lane and police urged caution to motorists.

''Oil and fuel have spilled onto the road making it difficult for clean up crews,'' Scoles said.

Roads were already icy so motorists needed to drive to the conditions, he said.  

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