Two killed as train hits car

Two people were killed this afternoon when a car was struck by a train on a rail crossing at Rotokohu, north of Reefton.

The accident occurred about 1pm at Landing Creek Road. St John Buller territory manager Robbie Blankenstein said no other people were involved. No further details were available.

In January, a Reefton dairy farmer was critically injured when a 2000-tonne train collided with her ute at a level crossing on the nearby Swamp Creek Road near Inangahua.

Jane Sluys, 56, died nines days later in hospital.

The crossing had been protected by stop signs but did not have barriers or flashing lights.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the accident involved a car and 24-wagon empty coal train, and it was the first collision at the crossing in the last decade.

"KiwiRail's thoughts are with the family and those affected in this event. This is always a very distressing time for our train drivers and staff.''

As a matter of course, the driver would be relieved of their duties for three days and offered counselling, the spokeswoman said.

St John Ambulance communications advisor Ian Henderson said a St John crew and a medical emergency responder were called out about 1pm.

The NZCC rescue helicopter was also called, but was turned back when both people in the car were reported dead, Mr Henderson said.

- Greymouth Star 

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