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Between 6.15am and 7am on Thursday, Carolina Patron Costas (23) of Argentina, was killed when the vehicle she was driving veered off the road and hit a tree.
There were no other vehicles involved and the incident has been referred to the coroner.
Yesterday, Senior Constable Chris Blackford said the woman's family was first contacted by someone other than police or the Argentinian Embassy.
Subsequently, a family member called the Queenstown police station.
Snr Const Blackford said that in most cases, police did not give such news over the telephone.
Effects of it on a family were unknown and police could "handle it much more sympathetically", he said.
"In this case, the constable was put in a position where he had to [confirm the news] over the phone," he said.
"Sometimes the right thing is to do nothing."
Snr Const Blackford understood a friend mentioned the accident to another friend, who told the parents.
With social media, it was becoming easier for people to spread information, he said.
Ms Patron Costas was on her way to Millbrook Resort, where she had been working in the food and beverage department since August.
Millbrook Resort head of operations Brian Howie said staff were "stunned and shocked" at her death.
He described her as a "very well liked and respected member of staff".
"She had been here since August [and] came with a friend she had been travelling with."
Mr Howie said thoughts were with her family overseas.
"These things are so much harder when the family is so far away."