Coast crash victim an award-winning academic

The man who died when the car he was driving crashed into the Manakaiua River near Fox Glacier on Friday evening was an award-winning New Zealand-born mathematician.

Charles Pearce, 72, was the sole occupant of the car which collided with the entrance to a single lane bridge and ended up in the Manakaiua River on Friday night.

The crash was discovered by a passing motorist at about midnight and Mr Pearce's body was found.

West Coast Police Senior Sergeant Tim Crawford said road conditions at the time were wet but not icy.

Dr Pearce was born and schooled in Wellington, before moving across the ditch to continue studying.

Since 1968 he worked as a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide.

In 2001 he was awarded the Australia New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM) medal for his work, focusing on applied probability.

The ANZIAM, in giving Dr Pearce the award, said he was one of the most prolific Australian mathematicians and had published more than 120 papers.

He supervised more than 20 PhD students.

He was a fellow of the Australian Mathematical Society since 1995 and was a fellow of the New Zealand Mathematical Society.

Dr Pearce had travelled frequently to New Zealand.

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