Emergency services at the accident scene. Photo by Mark Price
A rural road near Wanaka is being searched for a mystery
object which smashed through a car windscreen this morning,
killing the driver and forcing his passenger to grab the
Police have launched an investigation after the incident on
the Lake Hawea-Albert Town stretch of State Highway 6,
between Wanaka and Hawea, about 6.25am today.
Initial indications were that the driver of a blue Subaru car
travelling towards Wanaka suffered fatal injuries when he was
hit by something that smashed through the windscreen of his
car, police said.
His female passenger was uninjured in the incident.
Police are calling for sightings of a late-model white 4x4
ute that was heading out of Wanaka, on the north side of the
Maungawera Hill towards Hawea, sometime between 6.15am and
The ute may have been in the area at the time of the incident
and police would like to talk with the driver.
Rosie Foster, who was house-sitting at a friend's Bed and
Breakfast right by the crash scene, said she did not hear the
crash, but heard sirens early this morning.
She had spoken to a police officer who told her the passenger
of the fatally injured driver had to grab the steering wheel.
"He said that something had flown out the back of a car and
hit the windscreen of another car, and gone straight though
and killed the driver.
"The passenger managed to grab hold of the steering wheel and
steer it. I'm not sure if they had a massive crash after
Ms Foster said police did not know what the object was and
had not found it despite searching the grass along the sides
of the road.
"They said it could be anything from something that's flown
off the back of a trailer or even if they've thrown something
out the window."
Ms Foster said police were also investigating marks on the
road where it looked as though a vehicle had turned around
and gone back up the road.
However, she said police were unsure if the marks were caused
by the vehicle the object came from, or whether they were
caused by emergency vehicles on the scene.
Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron said police had searched for
the object extensively today but it had not been found.
"It's still a bit of a mystery as to what the object was and
we will be searching the scene again tomorrow," he said.
Police would also be stopping cars along the same stretch of
road between 6am to 7am tomorrow.
They would ask drivers whether they had been on the road at a
similar time today, and whether they saw either the blue
Subaru or white ute.
"We still very much want the help of members of the public to
help us piece together what exactly has occurred," Mr Cameron
Police said no further details about the man who died in the
crash would be released until next of kin have been notified.
Anyone with information could contact the Wanaka police
station on 03 443 7272 or their nearest police station.