Three killed in crash named

A tight-knit Southland community has been left reeling after three men were killed on Riversdale-Waikaia Road late last night.

Police today released the names of those killed in the accident as Christopher Martin Simpson (39) Matthew James Kennedy McKee (39) and Ewan Charles Christie (59).

All three, who were from the Waikaia/Riversdale area, died at the scene after the Toyota Hilux utility they were in left the road and struck the edge of a concrete road bridge just prior to midnight.

Waikaia chief fire officer Ross Sage, who was called to the accident with a crew of four, said the accident would have a massive impact on the tight-knit community.

"You are looking at three different families within the Waikaia/Riversdale area, of course it's going to affect everyone in the community,'' Mr Sage said.

It had been one of the most distressing accidents he had been called to, which was made worse by knowing the deceased.

"We are a volunteer brigade in a small rural area, so we are bound to know 90% of the people we attend.''

It was now about offering help, where wanted, to the families.

"The community is rallying around the families and offering their support where we are wanted.''

The crew was also supporting each other, and had the wider support of the New Zealand Fire Service, with a "critical stress unit'' available to them.

The crash scene was attended by emergency services, as well as the serious crash unit.

An investigation will continue into the cause of the crash and police are investigating whether alcohol or speed were factors.

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