Accident killed father of five

The man who died in a fatal crash south of Mossburn on Thursday night has been named as Nightcaps shearer and father-of-five Michael Gray.

Mr Gray was the front seat  passenger in the Toyota HiAce van carrying eight other shearing contract staff from Ohai and Night caps when the van crashed into a power pole at 6.50pm on the Wreys Bush-Mossburn highway, about 4km  from Mossburn.

Police said Mr Gray died at the scene. He is survived by his partner and five children.

A 48-year-old man suffered a broken leg and a 17-year-old youth broke his arm. Another six occupants of the van – aged 17 and 60 – suffered minor injuries and were later discharged from Southland Hospital.

It was unknown if any of the occupants were wearing safety belts at the time of the crash.

Investigations into the cause of the crash – which happened in daylight, in fine conditions, on a straight, tarseal road – were continuing, police said today.

Western Southland police senior sergeant Cynthia Fairley  says in a statement initial indications show  the van hit a concrete buttress attached to a small bridge  causing the van to cross a ditch. The van looked to have started to roll, but collided with a concrete power pole.  The driver and passengers were helped from the van by a passing truck driver and the owner of a nearby property.

Two helicopters and ambulances attended the scene, which closed the highway for several hours Thursday night.

Police spent yesterday examining the vehicle and speaking to witnesses. Invercargill Police Iwi Liaison staff and victim support are supporting Mr Gray’s family and others involved in the crash.

The Southland Times