Source: NZ Herald. A friend of the seven people killed in a horror crash near Picton has spoken of spending the night with them in Christchurch before they made the fateful drive to return home.
“You spend every spare moment thinking of the what-ifs and the whys,” said Bill, who contacted Newstalk ZB this morning.
Three generations of the Auckland family, which includes members of the Filipino community, died in the crash. Bill revealed what they did when they came to stay with him on Saturday night.
“They spent some of their last hours on earth with me on Saturday night, Sunday morning,” Bill told Newstalk ZB Canterbury Mornings host John MacDonald.
“This was a vibrant family – my friend was a high school teacher … his wife started an online business and he was really proud of her.
“They had four boys and girls … One of the boys had married a Taiwanese young lady and it was their baby that died.
“I was really taken with this young woman, she was so nice and it really hits home at my heart that she’s gone and the baby’s gone.
“Her husband survived … he’s going to wake up and find that he’s now alone.”
‘This is really a terrible and shocking news for the community’
Romy Udanga, an Auckland Filipino community leader, said he was shocked to learn that most of those killed in the crash were members of the community.
Udanga said members of the community in Wellington were on standby to help the two survivors – a man and a teenager – in Wellington Hospital.
“This is really a terrible and shocking news for the community, and all our thoughts are with the families and those affected,” Udanga said.
“It really also serves as a wake-up call for others in the community to be extra careful on the roads this long weekend.”
Matilde Figuracion, a Filipino living in Wellington, was meant to have travelled on the same ferry as those involved in the crash.
“The crash happened just minutes before us, and the roads were closed when we reached the Picton area. I was in shock when I heard what happened,” she said.
“When I heard they are Filipino, I told the nurses in Wellington Hospital that I am here if they needed any help.”
Emilie Shi, a former consul general of the Philippines, said the bodies of the deceased have been transferred to Christchurch.
“The consul general in Christchurch is assisting with the matter, I understand,” Shi said.
The Herald understands that staff from the Philippines Embassy are assisting police with the investigations.
In One News reports Police said the crash happened around 7.30am between a refrigerated goods truck and a van at Mount Pleasant.
The road will remain closed for a significant period of time while emergency services attend the scene.
Police confirmed one of those killed in the crash was a baby under the age of one.
Along with those who died, one person has critical injuries and one has serious injuries. Those injured were flown to Wellington Hospital.
All seven of those who died were travelling in the van along with the two injured.
The driver of the truck has minor injuries.
“The highway south of Picton remains closed while emergency services attend the scene, and is likely to remain closed for most of the day,” police say.
“Marlborough Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) staff are at the crash scene, as are staff from the Serious Crash Unit.”
Inspector Paul Borrell said a crash of this scale has a huge impact on both the community and on emergency services.
Picton Volunteer Fire Brigade officer Wayne Wytenburg posted on Facebook describing the accident as “most horrific.”
“I’m lost for words to describe what our emergency services had to deal with.
“Our thoughts go out to those effected by today’s events,” he said.