Rescue futile, fatal crash witness says

A woman and her neighbours watched a driver burn up after hitting a power pole outside her farmhouse in rural Hamilton on Saturday morning.

The crash downed power lines, the woman said, and the car was on fire when she, her husband and two neighbours grabbed fire extinguishers and rushed to help.

The burnt-out car as it left the scene about 8.30 on Saturday morning. Photo: CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

They were too late.

The witness, who declined to be named, told Stuff all four were screaming to see if anyone could hear them, but got no response.

"When we yelled out, we didn’t know what we wanted to hear. Then the horn started beeping. It was horrible."

Ten minutes later, police arrived, followed by the Fire Service.

The woman said she woke about 2.30am on Saturday to a loud bang.

"I just woke up to this loud noise, like the biggest whip crack I had ever heard, and I saw the power lines light up."

The single-vehicle crash happened on Kakaramea Road, south of Hamilton. The sole occupant was trapped inside the car on impact. A Waikato District Command Centre spokesman said on Sunday identification of the driver was yet to be completed. 

The witness said she saw the fire from her bedroom window. It was about 100 metres away, in the neighbour’s paddock.

"We all started putting the fire out, then we realised about the power lines and everyone jumped back. That’s when we knew there was nothing we could do."

The car was facing side-up against a hedge with the power pole on top of it. 

"It looks like they’ve tried their damnedest not to crash."

The Temple View road was cordoned off three or four kilometres either side of the scene and remained closed for several hours as the Serious Crash Unit investigated.

The Disaster Victim Identification Team later on Saturday joined the investigation.

The witness has lived at the property for six years and has seen a lot of crashes.

She believes it is not the roads, but the drivers. And she’s noticed that police are patrolling the road more frequently. 

"I don’t think it’s a bad road. It’s a cruisy strip of road and our area is the easiest bit of the road.

"I think people get a bit blase. But anything could have happened [in the latest crash] - we just don’t know.

 - Stuff


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