Singaporeans among 8 hurt in two-vehicle crash in New Zealand

The two vehicles in the crash were a silver Hyundai Imax van - which the Singaporeans were in - and an orange Holden Trax sport utility vehicle. Pictures of the accident scene show the van on fire.
The two vehicles in the crash were a silver Hyundai Imax van - which the Singaporeans were in - and an orange Holden Trax sport utility vehicle. Pictures of the accident scene show the van on fire.PHOTO: ST READER

Several Singaporeans were involved in an accident in New Zealand's South Island on Sunday.

They were among a group of six travelling along the Te Anau-Mossburn Highway in Southland region when the accident occurred.

The two vehicles in the crash were a silver Hyundai Imax van - which the Singaporeans were in - and an orange Holden Trax sport utility vehicle.

Pictures of the accident scene show the van on fire.

New Zealand police told The Straits Times (ST) that a crash was reported on Sunday at about 2.45pm local time (9.45am Singapore time).

"There were six passengers in the Hyundai and two in the Holden, and all were taken to hospital with injuries ranging from critical to moderate. Six patients were taken to Dunedin Hospital and two to Invercargill Hospital," a police spokesman said in response to ST's queries yesterday.

Three were discharged from Dunedin Hospital yesterday.

In an update at 4.10pm Singapore time, the spokesman said two people, who were earlier said to be seriously injured, are now in critical condition.

No one has been arrested in relation to the crash and the police continue to make inquiries, the spokesman added.

ST understands that the Singapore High Commission in Wellington is aware of the accident and is providing consular assistance to the Singaporeans involved.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Singapore High Commission in Wellington is aware of the accident and is rendering consular assistance to the Singaporeans involved.

The Southland Times reported that emergency services were still at the scene two hours after the crash.

No one was trapped in the van, which had been on fire, but a woman was trapped in the second vehicle and firefighters had to use cutting gear to get her out, a fire service spokesman told The Southland Times.

A Malaysian man, who declined to be named, had been about 10 cars behind the vehicles involved in the accident. A pharmacist, he got out of his car and went to the crash site with his first-aid kit to see if he could help, he told ST yesterday.

Two men appeared to be conscious, while three women and another man looked to be injured, he said.

The pharmacist, who is in his 20s and based in Queenstown, said the victims were complaining of chest pains and one of the women had facial injuries.

"Emergency services arrived in about 20 minutes, including ambulances, fire engines and helicopters. Some of the victims were airlifted to hospitals," he said.

There were also doctors who got out of their vehicles to help the injured before the paramedics arrived, he added.

The Malaysian man said he helped to translate some of the medical jargon used by the paramedics into Mandarin for the Singaporean victims.

The New Zealand Transport Agency's Twitter account for the Otago/Southland region said that at 3.05pm local time on Sunday, it received reports of a "serious crash" blocking the highway between Block Road and Christie Road.

A later update said that following the crash, power lines had fallen and the road between Centre Hill Road and Christie Road was closed.

The road was reopened yesterday morning, with a 30kmh speed restriction in place, said the agency's latest tweet.

New Zealand police are appealing for information from anyone who may have seen either vehicle in the Te Anau-Mossburn area prior to the crash.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2019, with the headline 'S'poreans among 8 hurt in two-vehicle crash in New Zealand'. Print Edition | Subscribe