Fonterra supports tanker driver after fatal crash on SH1 in South Canterbury
Fonterra is offering support for one of its tanker drivers involved in a fatal crash near Oamaru on Friday.
One person was killed in the crash between the milk tanker and another vehicle on State Highway 1 near Glenavy, 20 kilometres north of Oamaru.
Dunedin fencer Shamus Connell, 17, was on his way to Christchurch when he saw the incident unfold.
"They just sort of crashed together and then the milk tanker swerved and hit the side of the road and then the trailer flipped over and then there was milk pouring everywhere," Connell said.
He had the presence of mind to film the aftermath but, on Friday evening, was still coming to terms with what he saw.
"It was pretty shocking to see a bloody milk tanker flip over in front of you."
Mid-South Canterbury Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said diversions had been put in place for several hours following the crash which closed SH1 until 5.30pm.
The serious crash unit had been called in to investigate the cause of the collision which happened about 9.45am at Whitneys Creek, just opposite the Oceania Dairy milk processing plant, Gaskin said.
Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd global operations chief operating officer Robert Spurway said it received news of an accident involving one of its tankers on Friday morning.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with those impacted by this tragic accident.
"This is also a difficult time for our tanker operator, and we will be ensuring our people gather around him so that he has the right support and care."
Apart from being "understandably upset" as a result of the crash, the driver was reportedly uninjured.
Fonterra had been working closely with emergency services throughout the course of the morning to help respond to the accident, Spurway said.
The tanker which rolled onto its side had been loaded with milk at the time of the crash.
A video sent in by a passing motorist shows milk gushing out of the overturned tanker.
Fonterra said any milk remaining in the tanker would be pumped out into another tanker as soon as possible.
A St John spokesman confirmed one person had died at the scene and another, who was initially reported as seriously injured, was assessed but required no further medical attention.
Christchurch Transport Operations Centre adviser Luke Thomas said SH1 was closed south of Waimate, near Carrolls Rd.
Traffic was being diverted down Old Ferry Rd and Glenavy-Tawai Rd, Thomas said.
Fire communications shift manager Brent Dunn said Glenavy and Waimate fire crews were called out to the crash just before 10am.
The crash was significant, he said.
Otago Helicopters chief pilot Graeme Gale said they responded straight away with a rescue team but were stood down on the way to the incident.
The incident is the latest in a number of crashes involving tankers and trucks in South Canterbury over the past two years.
At the end of January a man died after a truck and trailer crashed on the Orari-Rangitata Highway, north of Timaru.
In early October, 2016, a driver working for Dynes Transport, a Fonterra contractor, died after his vehicle left the road and crashed into trees at the entrance to the Riverstone complex next to State Highway 1, near the Waitaki Bridge.
A tanker driver escaped without injury when a Fonterra tanker rolled on State Highway 79 between Fairlie and Geraldine in early January 2015.
The tanker driver had been forced to take evasive action after a car crossed the centre line.
Further north, three men were seriously injured when their car crashed into a milk tanker at Dunsandel on SH 1 in late December 2014.