Two young German tourists are in Dunedin Hospital - one in a
''critical'' condition - after the driver lost control of
their vehicle in loose gravel and rolled in the Cromwell
The accident happened near Italian Creek, 8km from Clyde,
about 4.50pm, forcing the closure of State Highway 8 and
causing long queues of hundreds of vehicles to form.
Senior Constable Phil Beckwith, of Cromwell, said both
tourists - a 19-year-old male driver and his 20-year-old male
passenger - had been flown by rescue helicopter to Dunedin
The driver was thought to have been wearing his seat belt,
but was in a ''quite serious'' condition in the hospital's
high dependency unit, Snr Const Beckwith said.
However, police suspected the passenger ''possibly wasn't''
wearing his seat belt, having been thrown from the vehicle as
He was in a critical condition in the hospital's intensive
care unit, Snr Const Beckwith said.
The accident happened as the tourists headed towards Clyde in
a Nissan Serena people carrier, but speed did not appear to
be a factor and alcohol was not suspected either, he said.
The pair had been in New Zealand for about a month on a
working holiday, but their names would not be released until
next of kin had been contacted.
Police had been in touch with Germany Embassy officials, who
were working to contact the men's families, he said.
The more seriously injured passenger was flown directly to
Dunedin Hospital, while the driver was taken first by
ambulance to Dunstan Hospital and later flown to Dunedin by
the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter.
The state highway was finally reopened to traffic about 9pm,
although a single lane had been cleared by about 7pm,
allowing vehicles to pass.
''Traffic was horrendous - several kilometres back up both
ways,'' Snr Const Beckwith said.
Emergency services attended from Clyde, Cromwell and
Alexandra, while two rescue helicopters landed in a grass
clearing next to the road.