Rental car was on wrong side of road

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 16:09 27/11/2013
Gaurav and Jaina Bhabhera
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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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Police have named the two drivers killed in a head-on collision at Bankside, south of Dunsandel, on Monday.

Indian tourist Gaurav Bhabhera, 28, was driving a rental car south of SH1 when his car veered across the centre line into the path of a north-bound vehicle. Drivers of both cars were killed in the smash.

Bhabhera's wife, Jaina Bhabhera was a passenger and remains in a critical condition in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit. 

Family of the Indian couple, who lived in Mumbai, were already on their way to New Zealand, police said. 

The couple married in March 2011. An itinerary found in their rental car showed they had been planning the holiday trip for some time.

Jaina Bhabhera was the owner of VishwaCare clinic in Mumbai, according to her Facebook page. 

Bhabhera posted on Facebook on November 20 that they had arrived in Auckland and were waiting for a bus to the Waitomo glow worm caves.

Marae Judy Dean, aged 52, of Ashburton, was driving north to Christchurch for a family gathering, possibly a funeral. Her partner was in the car behind.

A female passenger in the north-bound vehicle - a member of the Dean's extended family in her 20s - was also in hospital and was in a comfortable condition in a general ward.

Investigations into the crash were continuing, police Sergeant Chris Jones said.

Police were interviewing crash witnesses and an examination of the vehicles was expected to be completed by the end of the week.

Possible factors contributing to the crash were unfamiliarity with conditions and driver distraction, 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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