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A crash in the Dunedin suburb of Green Island, which left a woman in hospital with moderate injuries, sounded like a "gunshot", an eyewitness says.
The man said he thought he heard a firearm discharge just before 2pm today - until he saw a car with a crumpled front-end rolling backwards
into a busy Main South Rd, opposite St Peter Chanel School.
Another eyewitness said he heard the bang and turned around to see that the car had collided with a telephone pole on an embankment at the Kaikorai Stream overbridge.
He saw the vehicle trailing fuel and rolling backwards into the road.
He believed the driver was a woman in her late 70s or early 80s. Airbags in her car deployed and smoke billowed into her face.
The man and another eyewitness assisted the woman at the scene. She told them she did not want an ambulance to be called, as she was on her way to buy pet food.
A St John spokeswoman said it was alerted to the incident at 1.55pm and one patient was transported to Dunedin Hospital in moderate condition.
A police spokeswoman said a tow truck was called and the council was sending a team to assist with cleaning up the scene.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said a crew from the Lookout Point station came across the incident and assisted until other emergency services arrived.