Mum of eleven dies in U-turn crash
A mother of 11 children is dead after the van she was in collided with a truck and trailer unit near Rolleston.
May Manumalealii, 53, may not have been wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle in the crash in Main South Rd, just after 11pm on Tuesday, police confirmed this afternoon.
Manumalealii, a New Zealand resident from Samoa, died at the scene.
Her 57-year-old husband - the driver of the van - remains in Christchurch Hospital in a stable condition with a number of broken bones.
The second passenger - a 53-year-old family friend - has been released from hospital.
Police said it was too early to say if charges would be laid.
Constable Liz Johnson, of Rolleston police, said Manumalealii was from Hornby and had been a back-seat passenger in the van when it did a U-turn and was hit by a truck in a 100kmh area.
She was found lying up to 10 metres from the vehicle.
When asked whether the victim was wearing a seat-belt, Johnson said: ''It's yet to be determined, but possibly not.''
Speed and alcohol were unlikely to have been factors in the crash.
''It appears the U-turn has been the main cause of the fatality,'' she said.
''A U-turn total can be a dangerous manoeuvre . . . without physically turning your head and looking.''
Manumalealii was a full-time mother of 11 children and a member of a ''close knit family'', Johnson said.
Many were still travelling from overseas to attend her funeral.
''The family are pulling together and helping each other.''
The husband was ''dealing with his injuries and emotionally he's struggling'', Johnson said.
He was yet to be interviewed by police.
''It's very, very sensitive.''
Family had asked for privacy, Johnson said.