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‘Significant and serious’ three-car crash

Slice of luck saves lives

Safety features have helped prevent deaths in a three-vehicle crash in which a vehicle carrying six people flipped over a fence. PHOTOS/MARY ARGUE

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Luck and modern safety features are credited with saving the lives of 12 people involved in a “significant and serious” three-vehicle crash on State Highway 2, south of Eketahuna.

Emergency services were called to a crash at about 8.30pm on Thursday.

One of the vehicles, carrying six people, had flipped over a fence, landing in a paddock 15m away from the initial impact.

St John’s confirmed three people were taken by ambulance to Palmerston North Hospital, one in serious condition and two in moderate conditions.

A fourth person in serious condition was airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital with suspected internal injuries.

Several emergency personnel attended the crash site, including two St John’s ambulances, a rapid response unit, an emergency responder, two crews from Eketahuna and Pahiatua fire stations, five police vehicles, and a helicopter.

Eketahuna police officer Jymahl Glassey said all responders commented on the seriousness of the crash.

“There is some real luck working there. I have attended lesser accidents, with lesser damage where people haven’t survived.

“It was significant that there weren’t fatalities on site.”

Two of the three vehicles involved in a “significant” crash on State Highway 2 south of Eketahuna.

Glassey said investigations were ongoing but initial reports indicated a “head-on” between two vehicles travelling north and south. A third vehicle travelling south was caught in the collision.

“On the face of it, it looks as though a vehicle has collided head-on with another vehicle and glanced the second vehicle travelling behind.”

He said the crash had happened on a straight stretch of road, and there were no obvious roadside factors that may have caused it.

“It was remarkable there weren’t more injuries. One car rolled, and no one had been thrown from it. Safety features have helped.”

Glassey said he was impressed with the occupants of the cars, who he described as calm and helpful.

“I was quite surprised at how well they coped with the situation.”

He said the four police vehicles that attended were from the Wellington roading policing group and happened to be in Wairarapa that day.

“It was just by luck they were able to send so many.”

He said the road was fully closed for an hour and had traffic management in place for a further half-hour.

Eketahuna chief fire officer Max Mayer said the occupants of the cars were all outside the vehicles when emergency services arrived.

He said the car that had flipped was a “very safe vehicle”.

“It had all the safety features. Lots of airbags and everything deployed. The seatbelts did a good job.”


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