NEW ZEALAND CAR ACCIDENT

Singaporean girl, 10, in critical but stable state

A 10-YEAR-OLD Singaporean girl injured in New Zealand on Wednesday after the car she was travelling in overturned remains in a critical but stable condition.

She was still in the intensive care unit of the Starship children's hospital in Auckland yesterday evening, said a spokesman for Rotorua Hospital, where she was first taken to.

The girl was injured when the Toyota Rav4 her family was in hit a tree and overturned on Wednesday morning near Lake Tikitapu in Rotorua on the North Island.

The spokesman added that the girl's mother had been transferred by ambulance to Auckland City Hospital, where she is in a general ward.

The girl's father and two siblings have been put up at emergency accommodation at the same hospital.

The siblings were treated at the emergency ward and discharged on Wednesday. Her father is not known to have received any treatment.

Police told the New Zealand Herald the accident may have been caused by winter conditions, and that speed is not believed to be a factor.

There was believed to be black ice on the road, which makes driving hazardous.

The family, which was unnamed, was on a two-week holiday ending tomorrow.

The Rotorua Fire Brigade had to use hydraulic cutting equipment to remove the passenger side doors to free the victims, but it is not known who was driving, and what injuries were suffered.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it was in contact with the family to provide consular assistance.

Associate Professor Chin Hoong Chor, the director of the Safety Studies Initiative at the National University of Singapore, said Singaporeans could get in trouble if they find themselves driving in wintry conditions which they are not familiar with.

"We need to be properly equipped and be taught how to manipulate the vehicle correctly," he added.

He said Singaporeans also need to take proper rests to prevent fatigue on longer drives in bigger countries, as they are more used to making short trips here.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg