An object of ''considerable mass'' but not a bullet, a
meteor, an animal or a flying piece of ice.
Those are some of the conclusions reached by forensic experts
looking for the object that killed Rutger Hale (22) a week
ago this morning.
Mr Hale died while driving his Subaru up the Maungawera Hill
on State Highway 6, from Lake Hawea towards Wanaka, about
6.20am on October 24.
A fist-sized hole in the windscreen, head injuries to Mr Hale
and a shattered rear window indicated he was killed by an
object passing through his car.
The head of the inquiry into Mr Hale's death, Detective
Sergeant Brian Cameron, told the Otago Daily Times
yesterday the object ''remains a mystery''.
That is despite a postmortem examination of Mr Hale and a
forensic examination of his car at the weekend.
However, Det Sgt Cameron said the examinations had given
police ''some clues as to what we should be looking for'' and
''some indicators'' as to what the object was not.
Several theories had been discounted, including that it was a
projectile from a firearm or an object from space.
''Anything that would have come in through the atmosphere
would generate a reasonable amount of heat that would leave
''We're satisfied that it's unlikely to be a meteorite or any
piece of space debris.''
Asked whether it might have been a piece of ice from an
aeroplane, Det Sgt Cameron said ''they generally don't travel
parallel to the ground''.
And nothing was found to suggest a bird or an animal was
Det Sgt Cameron said the object had left marks during its
passage through the car ''and from those marks, we are
satisfied the item exited through the rear window''.
No trace of the object was found in the car.
Tests had not been able to determine whether the object was
''metal or mineral or otherwise''.
''All we know is that it's got considerable mass to have
caused the damage that it has.''
The search of the road verge in the vicinity of the incident
is expected to continue today.
Det Sgt Cameron said it was ''probably inappropriate'' to say
before the search had been completed if any objects of
interest had been found.
The first motorist on the scene of the accident last Thursday
is also baffled as to what the object could have been.
''There's a few theories going round but I didn't really see
what happened, so I have no idea,'' Lake Hawea woman Anita
Brenssell (21) said.
''I'm just going to wait until they [police] find something,
if they find something.''
Miss Brenssell was travelling from Wanaka along SH6 when she
came across the accident just after 6.30am, about 10 minutes
after it happened, she estimated.
She first noticed the vehicle's smashed front and rear
windscreens and saw Ms Oylear crying and in a panicked state
outside the vehicle, next to the driver's side door.
Mr Hale was bleeding and still alive at that time, Miss
''[Ms Oylear] was talking to him trying to get him to stay
alive ... and she was on the phone to the ambulance at the
Miss Brenssell gave Ms Oylear some clean cloths from her own
vehicle to help stop the bleeding, before a second motorist
and the emergency services arrived on the scene.
A funeral for Rutger Hale is being held in Auckland today.