A French tourist and German tourist were killed yesterday in a "horrific" head-on crash with a four-wheel-drive ute in heavy rain near Pelorus Bridge.
The crash, shortly after 1pm on the Nelson side of the Pelorus River, closed State Highway 6 for more than two hours.
Senior Sergeant Peter Payne, of Marlborough, said it appeared one of the vehicles had crossed the centre line.
It appeared at least one of the men was not wearing a seatbelt, he said.
He said conditions at the time were atrocious.
The two dead men, who were yet to be named, were travelling together with a 25-year-old woman toward Nelson in a Mitsubishi station wagon. One of the men was driving, with the other sitting in the back. The woman, a front seat passenger, suffered multiple injuries but was today in a stable condition in Wairau Hospital, a spokeswoman said. She told police today the trio had only met recently and were sharing a ride.
Their van collided with a Mazda ute driven by a 33-year-old woman, believed to be from the area. She had a quad bike on the back which was thrown from the vehicle.
She was also in a stable condition in Wairau Hospital with head and leg injuries.
Pelorus Bridge cafe owner Stephanie Neal rushed to the crash scene with a first aid kit.
"It was a pretty horrific accident, especially just before Christmas," she said.
Mrs Neal said she talked to the local woman, whose legs were trapped in the ute.
She knew the woman, who worked on a nearly dairy farm and lived in Havelock, and regularly came into the cafe.
St John Ambulance Blenheim team manager Rebecca Lee said today the scene was confusing because of the quad bike, which led those first on the scene to think three vehicles had been involved.
She said the accident about one kilometre from the Pelorus Bridge was on a shorter stretch of road, coming off a corner.
"It was obviously a high-speed impact," she said.
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