One injured German teen in HDU, other in intensive care

Two German teenagers who were seriously injured when their vehicle rolled in the Cromwell Gorge on Tuesday remained in Dunedin Hospital yesterday, one in a serious condition in the intensive care unit.

The tourists were the only occupants of a Nissan Serena people-carrier and the crashed vehicle was inspected yesterday by members of the police serious crash unit, Senior Constable Phil Beckwith, of Cromwell, said. The 18-year-old male driver was in a stable condition in the hospital's high dependency unit last night, while his 19-year-old male passenger was in a critical condition in the intensive care unit.

From the eyewitness reports police had a '' clear-cut idea'' of what had happened, but the investigation was continuing, Snr Const Beckwith said.

''We'd like to thank all those who were on the scene and treated the men immediately after the crash, especially the medical staff who offered their help. Getting the right people there straight away was certainly needed, in the initial stages especially.''

''An ambulance had been travelling in the same direction as the vehicle [towards Clyde], just ahead of it, and the people in the ambulance saw the accident unfold behind them, so turned around and went back to help.''

Other off-duty medical staff were also in the ''right place at exactly the right time to help'', he said.

''Both men received head injuries, so you have to think, the earlier they got help, the better chance they had.''

The accident happened on State Highway 8, near Italian Creek, 8km from Clyde, just before 5pm on Tuesday and the road was closed for two hours. Traffic was backed up for several kilometres both sides of the accident site and Snr Const Beckwith thanked the occupants of those vehicles for their patience.

''It was inconvenient for a lot of people. Some were heading home after work and some were holiday-makers in the area, but we're grateful for their patience.''

Victim Support volunteers had offered their assistance to those who witnessed the accident, as well as supporting the victims in hospital, he said. Two rescue helicopters were used to transport the seriously injured men to Dunedin hospital. The passenger was airlifted from the accident site and the driver was taken first by ambulance to Dunstan Hospital and then flown to Dunedin by the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter.