SIA pilot in NZ car accident did not see 'stop' sign at junction, court told

The Christchurch District Court heard on Monday that SIA first officer Benjamin Wu Yonghao, 32, had failed to notice the stop sign at a junction near the town of Rolleston, just outside Christchurch. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Christchurch District Court heard on Monday that SIA first officer Benjamin Wu Yonghao, 32, had failed to notice the stop sign at a junction near the town of Rolleston, just outside Christchurch. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

 SINGAPORE - The Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot driving a rental Toyota car with four colleagues inside, had run a stop sign in New Zealand, which led to a car crash that left two of his colleagues seriously injured.

The Christchurch District Court heard on Monday that SIA first officer Benjamin Wu Yonghao, 32, had failed to notice the stop sign at a junction near the town of Rolleston, just outside Christchurch.

Wu had managed to slow down to about 40-50kmh but still collided with a four-wheel-drive towing a horse trailer travelling at 80kmh. The four-wheel-drive had right-of-way.

Both of Wu's injured colleagues - chief steward Chew Weng Wai and stewardess Vanessa Coelho - were seated in the back seat and not wearing seat belts. Both of them had to be cut free from the wreckage by the New Zealand Fire Service.

Both Mr Chew and Ms Coelho are still in Christchurch Hospital, although it is understood that their conditions have stabilised.

SIA has flown the families of all three employees to Christchurch and are providing emotional support and assistance.

Judge Stephen O'Driscoll has adjourned sentencing until Friday.