Crash victim father of five and shearer

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2012

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The man who died in a fatal crash south of Mossburn on Thursday night has been named by police 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 Nightcaps when the van crashed into a power pole at 6.50pm on the Wreys Bush-Mossburn highway, about 4 kilometres 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 man had a broken arm from the crash. Another six occupants - aged from 17 to 60 - suffered minor injuries and were later discharged from Southland Hospital.

It was unknown whether 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, tar seal road - were continuing, police said yesterday.

Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, of Western Southland, said it appeared the van hit a concrete buttress of 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.

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. gwyneth.hyndman@stl.co.nz

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