Rental car was on wrong side of road

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 08:31 27/11/2013
Two killed in four-car crash

DOUBLE FATAL: An Indian tourist and a Kiwi woman died in a head-on crash on State Highway 1, north of Rakaia, on Monday.

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The driver of a rental car that drifted across a Canterbury highway and crashed head-on with an oncoming vehicle was a tourist in New Zealand on holiday.

Police are not ruling out inattention or unfamiliarity with New Zealand roads being a factor in the double-fatality crash.

The names of the two drivers killed in the collision on State Highway 1, just north of the Rakaia River, about 1.15pm on Monday, are expected to be released today.

The victims were an Indian man in his 20s and a 54-year-old woman from Ashburton.

The tourist was travelling south with a woman, also in her 20s, thought to be his wife. She is in a critical condition in Christchurch Hospital.

The Ashburton woman was travelling in convoy with family members - including her partner - to Christchurch for a family gathering, possibly a funeral.

Her partner was in the car behind hers when the crash happened.

Her passenger, a female relative in her 20s, was seriously injured. She was in a stable condition in hospital yesterday.

The cause of the crash is being investigated, but inattention was a possibility, Sergeant Chris Jones said.

The dead tourist had an Indian driver's licence, but would have been unfamiliar with New Zealand roads, where typically the speeds were higher and there were no barrier arms between the lanes, Jones said.

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