A woman suffering critical head injuries from a car crash cradled her dead baby in her arms as she drifted in and out of consciousness.
Eleven-month-old Olivia Lu, of Paraparaumu, died after her parents' car hit a concrete median barrier and flipped on to its roof on State Highway 1 near Raumati South, where two lanes merge, on December 28. She and her mother, Pei Shan Gan, were flown to Wellington Hospital.
Doctors tried to save Olivia but she died that night after losing too much blood. Her mother needed blood drained from her brain on the night of the accident to relieve pressure and prevent a clot.
She was able to hold Olivia after she died. Olivia's great-uncle, Tony Gan, said yesterday: "It was one month before her first birthday, a first-born child . . . it is a tragedy, especially at this time of the year."
Olivia's father, Bo Lu, suffered cuts to his forehead and has been discharged from hospital.
He was distraught but a Wellington Hospital chaplain had helped him a great deal and he had been at his wife's side in hospital since, Mr Gan said.
Ms Gan was transferred to Hutt Hospital three days ago for plastic surgery for a finger injury. The hospital said yesterday she was in a "fairly satisfactory" condition. "She is in a lot of pain but she is out of danger," Mr Gan said. "The worst thing was losing her baby girl.
"One minute we were celebrating Christmas, a couple of days later this tragic thing happens."
His niece had lived in New Zealand for 10 years, the past four in Kapiti.
Support had poured in for her and her family from the Kapiti Coast District Council, where she worked in the finance department, and from her neighbourhood, he said.
The family were hopeful she would be well enough to attend Olivia's funeral next week.
- The Dominion Post