Sunday, 31 May 2009 - 9:09am |
National News

Two killed in highway crash

1 min read

SH1 is likely to remain closed at Ohakea for the best part of the day after a crash that has claimed two lives.

The crash happened around 6am this morning (Sunday, 31 May) when it appears that a chemical tanker travelling north swerved to avoid a pedestrian in the road.

Tragically the truck still hit and killed the pedestrian and then overturned into a drainage ditch. The driver was also killed in the crash and remains trapped in the overturned vehicle.

The pedestrian is believed to be a 22-year-old man from Feilding and the truck driver a 48-year-old man from Wellington. They will not be named until next of kin have been informed and formal identities have been carried out.

A crashed car has been found in a ditch in nearby Wilson Road and police are investigating whether or not this is linked to the dead pedestrian.

A diversion has been put in place and will remain there for some time. The difficulty being faced by the emergency services is that the tanker was carrying caustic soda which is leaking into the drainage ditch. The contents are going to have to be pumped from the crasher tanker to another tanker before any recovery is attempted. Cranes will be required to right the vehicle.

Sgt Phil Gillbanks said: "Whilst the chemical is not causing any immediate public safety risk it has to be handled carefully. The detour we have put in place is around the back of the RZNAF air base and will only add approximately 1.5km to any journeys, so it shouldn't inconvenience drivers too much."

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.