Tourist dies after highway pile-up

Last updated 13:18 28/06/2012

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A 56-year-old tourist is dead and another man has had all-night surgery at Wellington Hospital after a head-on crash on State Highway 6 between Okaramio and Havelock yesterday.

Four vehicles carrying five people were involved in the crash just after 2.30pm.

It involved a blue utility vehicle travelling toward Blenheim and three cars heading the opposite way, towards Havelock. The crash happened on a straight stretch of road and conditions were not icy.

Marlborough highway patrol manager Sergeant Barrie Greenall said the utility appeared to have crossed the centre line, where it collided with a white Toyota car – the second of the three cars going in the opposite direction.

The foreign visitor who was alone in the Toyota, was cut out by emergency services and airlifted to Wellington Hospital about 3.30pm by the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter. He died on the way to hospital.

The driver of the utility, a man also in his mid-50s and travelling alone, was trapped for more than an hour as emergency services worked to free him.

He was airlifted to Wellington Hospital by the Westpac rescue helicopter from Wellington about 4.30pm.

Both men were treated at the scene by St John intensive care paramedics before being airlifted.

The second man was still in surgery this morning and a hospital spokesman said no condition update was available.

Mr Greenall said the people in the other two cars involved, a man in one car and a man and a woman in the other, were not injured.

The Havelock fire crew was called out just after 2.40pm, followed by two fire crews from Renwick. Two St John ambulances and three police units were also at the crash scene.

Traffic was backed up along SH6 more than 1.5 kilometres at both ends of the scene. Some was diverted until the road reopened about 5.30pm.

Senior Constable Maurice Horne, of Havelock, said Havelock police and the serious crash unit were investigating the crash.

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- The Nelson Mail

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