Lucky escape as train and 4WD collide

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 10:54 29/07/2013
maheno crash
DANIEL BIRCHFIELD/Fairfax NZ

SMASHED: Damage to a 4WD vehicle hit by a train at a level crossing on Burgess Rd north of Herbert this morning.

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A man has walked away from a collision with a freight train this morning that bloodied his head and destroyed his 4WD.

The man, whose name has not been released, was travelling in Burgess Rd near Oamaru and crossed the railway tracks in the path of an Oamaru-bound train about 8.30am.

Dianne Burgess heard the collision from inside her farmhouse, only metres from the crash site.

"I heard five to seven hard toots from the train, and then a bang," she said.

She recognised the crumpled Nissan Safari immediately, she said. The driver, a Herbert man, often came to her farm to work.

"He had started to get himself out," she said. "I ran up and gave him my arm, brought him back to the house and gave him a strong cup of coffee."

The man was shaken but alert and talking, she said. He was bleeding from a cut on his head.

A police officer interviewed the driver in her home and the man was taken to Oamaru Hospital by ambulance. A hospital administrator said the man was later discharged.

The 4WD suffered heavy damage, its passenger side crumpled. The impact pushed it off the tracks, down a bank and through a fence into a paddock.

The train came to a stop less than a kilometre down the tracks.

In the past, there have been several crashes between cars or stock animals and freight trains on the three unmarked railway crossings in the area, Burgess said.

"You really have to look around that bend to see them coming," she said. "We say to people all the time, look for trains, watch out for trains."

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- The Timaru Herald

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