Lucky escape after vehicle hits train

A man escaped serious injuries after his vehicle collided with a train in the Tasman area yesterday.

The crash happened at the State Highway 7 rail crossing at Totara Flat, about 9.30pm, police said.

Early indications were that the southbound vehicle hit the side of the northbound coal train.

The vehicle was extensively damaged and the driver was flown to Greymouth Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

An investigation into the cause of the crash was under way.

The crash was the third this year on the West Coast, following two fatal incidents.

In May, Reefton couple Robert and Marieta Jacobs were killed on a crossing at SH69 after visiting friends on Landing Creek Road.

The level crossing is controlled by a give way sign. The train was heading toward Westport at the time.

The fatality occurred 3km from another uncontrolled level crossing at Swamp Creek Road, where local woman Jane Sluys was killed in January when her ute was struck by a train as she left her property.

KiwiRail senior communications adviser David Miller said there had been seven collisions involving trains in the Buller district over the past decade, two of them fatal.


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