Two large trucks - a B-train and a semi-trailer - and a
Nissan vehicle were involved in the crash. Photo/Manawatu
An eyewitness to a horrific fatal crash in Manawatu says
the occupants of a car had no chance of survival when three
vehicles exploded in flames.
State Highway 1 resident Greg Perry told the Manawatu
Guardian the car and two trucks, all heading south, burst
into flames when they concertinaed in a dramatic collision
just after midnight.
"It instantly went up in flames. The flames were up to the
"I thought there might have been flammables onboard because I
heard some loud explosions.''
Police said at least one person died in the crash.
Mr Perry, who lives next to where the accident happened on
SH1 between Sanson and Foxton and was outside his house at
the time of the accident, said both male truck drivers got
out of their cabs after the collision and appeared to be
uninjured, but the occupants of the car had no chance of
"The people in the car would not have had a chance and no
emergency services could have got to them.''
Mr Perry's friend James Petrowski called 111 and alerted the
call taker to a major accident involving a collision between
trucks and a car, asking for fire and ambulance to
Mr Perry said fire services were on the scene quickly but he
estimated it took police and ambulance services 30 to 40
minutes to arrive.
The scene is currently strewn with charred debris and
wreckage from the burnt vehicles. A chiller truck is being
removed by a crane and loaded onto a transporter in two
pieces. The burnt out Nissan was removed just before
A reporter at the scene said skidmarks were visible on the
road and cashews and potatoes were also scattered across the
scene. About a dozen emergency personnel and roading
contractors were still working to clear the scene.
The road remains closed and diversions are in place.
Photo / Manawatu Guardian Photo / Manawatu Guardian
The owner of one of the trucks involved in the collision, Big
Chill chief executive Michael Roberts, said regardless of who
was at fault, fatal crashes were always traumatic for the
"It is pretty tough. I understand he's physically fine, he's
a good, experienced driver of ours.
"He's on his way back to Auckland now heading home and he'll
have a few days off and then, all going well will be back at
the job [at a later date]."
The Big Chill driver was travelling from Auckland to
Wellington with a load of chilled and frozen food products
when the crash occurred, Mr Roberts said.
Information from on-board GPS and footage from an on-board
camera gave a good idea of how the crash occurred, Mr Roberts
"It's a pretty sad situation."
Early reports also indicated the collision, which also
damaged the road, may have occurred while one of the vehicles
was attempting to overtake.
"The serious crash unit is conducting a scene examination and
the vehicles will be removed from the scene today for further
analysis," police said.
Police spokeswoman Sara Stavropoulos said diversions will be
in place until at least midday.
"I want to thank motorists for their understanding as we work
to have the highway open as soon as possible. In the meantime
I would ask that motorists take alternative routes and
exercise caution on diversion routes," Mr Allan said.
- Teuila Fuatai and Alecia Rousseau of the Manawatu