'Total devastation' at crash scene - witness
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 6:01p.m.
By Michael Morrah
It has been described as one of the worst crash scenes in the Central North Island in more than 20 years.
Four ski field workers were killed after the car they were in collided head-on with a truck near Ohakune.
The four dead were all from Argentina, and here on working visas. A fifth man in the car was from Chile and survived, but with serious injuries.
The force of the impact almost completely flattened the Holden station wagon the five tourists were driving.
“It looked like a bomb scene. The car was totally destroyed from the front of the car through to the back compartment, it was just total devastation really,” says tow truck driver Colin Fredricksen.
The car hit an eight-wheeler truck that was coming in the opposite direction on the highway near the town of Erua.
“I've been in the area for about 22 years and this is certainly the worst crash that I've seen,” says Ruapehu area commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich.
The group had been driving back to their accommodation in National Park when the crash happened around 10:30pm last night.
They’d just finished a game of indoor soccer in Ohakune. Duane Dixon and his team were playing against them.
“We had rearranged the league so that they'd fit in and be part of it. We'd had a friendly kick around with them for about an hour which was just brilliant,” he says.
“We finished up about quarter to 10 and said catch you next week, look forward to seeing you again.”
Police say motorists need to be wary of the area. It appears the Holden pulled out to pass a truck and was hit almost immediately by a truck coming the other way.
“There was no where near 100 metres visibility available to them. The area is in complete darkness and there's no way they should have tried to pass there,” says Mr Mastrovich.
All five had been working at Whakapapa ski field in the cafe and rental shop.
Around 30 South Americans are employed there this season.
“They were very distraught this morning when I spoke with a couple of them,” says Whakapapa ski field general manager Dave Mazey.
The only survivor has been named as Benjamin Blake – also in his 20s.
He's in Waikato hospital, and is described as being in a serious but stable condition.
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13/07/2012 9:13:44 p.m.
Ian the spot isn't known as a blind spot, its just a normal everyday corner. I grew up in Naty Park. The boys were less then a kilometre from there accomodation, in fact "that bend" another bend left then 700metres or so then "home". I'd imagine they would have driven to Ohakune as its a very small circumference and as noted they frequent both Ski fields (Turoa/Ohakune side and Whakapapa/Naty Park side). I fell sorry for the family, friends and your right the trunk driver. Running over a curb or bunny is bad enough, so yeah, constant replay for life. There certainly is no way you'd pass on a normal corner like that.Totally misjudged the bend or road.Nevertheless a very sad and tragic loss of some great kids.
13/07/2012 8:26:43 p.m.
this was very bad for everyone but i think some consideration should be paid to the truck driver as he will have to live with this for the rest of his life and may never want to drive again, everyone always think of the dead after something like this but what about the innocent bystander the truck driver who was just trying to do his job, if the road is a known blind spot there should be more signage to prevent this type of tragedy
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