Burnt-out car 'unrecognisable' after deadly crash
The teenager who died in a fiery car crash at Lindis Pass in Central Otago last night was well known Arrowtown snowboarder Hamish Bagley.
The 17-year-old was in the vehicle with his family dog when he crashed north of the Cluden Hill summit about 5.30pm.
The New Zealand Olympic Winter Team in Sochi, Russia, was shocked to hear of his death.
Bagley was a member of the New Zealand Team to the inaugural Youth Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck in 2012 and had been working towards qualification for the Sochi Olympic Games as a member of the official long list.
Olympic Team Chef de Mission Pete Wardell said the team was advised of the news this morning.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Hamish at this sad time. He was a bright and talented young man who made a positive contribution to winter sport in New Zealand. He will be sorely missed.”
New Zealand athletes and support staff in Sochi will gather together later today to acknowledge the snowboarder and the role he played in their close-knit community.
The man who came across the scene of the burning vehicle in a ditch on the Lindis Valley Pass had to drive 30 minutes to find cellphone reception to call emergency services.
Southern police communications spokesman Murray Hurst said emergency services rushed to the scene near Elliotts Bridge on the Lindis Pass, after the man finally found reception.
Members of the public remained at the scene waiting for emergency services to arrive, Hurst said.
A passer-by said the entire scene was scorched and the car appeared to have gone off the road, through a fence and down the bank, landing in the willows by the river.
It appeared the man and his seat were ejected from the car during the crash.
The car was unrecognisable, he said.
Southern fire communications shift manager Andrew Norris said the Fire Service was required to douse the surrounding vegetation that had caught fire after the crash.
Tarras Rural Fire Force volunteers were the first to arrive at the scene.
Deputy chief fire officer Mark Davidson said an area the size of a football field was on fire by the time they arrived.
- The Southland Times