Car and train collide
A woman is seriously injured after her car was hit by a train near Reefton on the West Coast.
A St John spokeswoman said the woman, in her 50s, was being flown by rescue helicopter to Christchurch Hospital. She had multiple serious injuries.
It is understood she was the only person in the car.
The collision occurred about 1.30pm at the Swamp Creek Rd crossing, 15 km north of Reefton and 10km south of Inangahua.
Sergeant Sean Judd from Westport police said it appeared the woman was driving from her house on Swamp Creek Rd, and crossed the tracks to reach State Highway 69.
She was driving a ute, and it appeared the south-bound train hit the driver's side of the door.
A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the train was a coal train, en route to Lyttelton from Westport. It weighed over 2000 tonnes and was about 470 metres long.
She said a train that size would take about one kilometre to stop.
Swamp Creek Rd is a rural, unsealed road, with a rail crossing at the intersection of Reefton Highway. The railway runs parallel to the highway.
The KiwiRail spokeswoman said it was a crossing with stop signs only, and did not have warning bells or barrier arms.
She said incidents like this were stressful for train drivers. "It's awful for them."
Drivers were often stood down and offered support after accidents.