Two survive as car fells Southland power pole

TRAPPED: Emergency personnel work to free the driver of this vehicle which crashed near Lochiel.
TRAPPED: Emergency personnel work to free the driver of this vehicle which crashed near Lochiel.

Speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in a car crash that split a powerpole and left one man trapped, near Lochiel this afternoon.

Constable Jim Mangos, of Winton, said it appeared the Holden sedan was speeding on McCallum Rd, near the Lochiel-Branxholme Rd, when it crashed.

The road is a moderate S-bend.

''A lady down here (at a neighbouring property) heard the vehicle, in her words, 'boot it', then she looked up and heard screeching and a bang,'' he said.

The force of the crash twisted the car around a power pole, snapping it.

''(The car has) taken the full brunt of it.''

The smell of alcohol was inside the car, and a blood sample would be taken from the driver, Mr Mangos said.

Two men believed to be in their mid-30s were in the car at the time of the crash – the driver, from Christchurch, had to be cut from the vehicle, while the passenger, an Invercargill man, was uninjured in the crash.

Both men were taken by ambulance to Southland Hospital.

Only the airbag on the driver's side of the vehicle deployed in the crash, Mr Mangos said.

Two fire crews from Winton, ambulances from Invercargill and Winton, the police Serious Crash Unit and police from Otautau, Riverton and Winton attended the scene.

Winton fire station officer David Laverty, who was one of the first on the scene, said fire crews found the power pole sitting on the roof of the vehicle, which was extensively damaged in the crash.

The passenger was out of the vehicle when emergency services arrived, but the driver had to be cut from the wreckage.

Both the driver's door and roof of the vehicle were cut to free the trapped man.

''The driver has taken the pole out, it was a side-impact (crash) and he was pinned by the door, which was crushed right in on the side of him. We cut the side door open to have a look then cut the roof off,’’ he said.

The trapped driver was conscious and speaking, Mr Laverty said.

''He’s very, very lucky.''

BIG HIT: Two men survived this single car crash that severed a power pole near Lochiel.
BIG HIT: Two men survived this single car crash that severed a power pole near Lochiel.

The Southland Times