Five teenage boys died in a single-vehicle car crash in New Zealand’s worst road accident for two years.
Police confirmed that five teenage boys died when an overcrowded car collided with a power pole at the intersection of Seadown Road and Meadows Road in Washdyke, Timaru at around 7:30 p.m. local time on Aug. 7.
Aoraki area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin told the media that the boys were all aged 15 and 16.
The driver survived the crash and was taken to the hospital for his serious injuries.
Police said a full crash investigation will be carried out, but speed appeared to be the likely factor for the accident.
Superintendent Steve Greally added that not everyone in the car was wearing seatbelts.
“Driving at excess speed for the conditions, and not being properly restrained, are two of the unsafe driving behaviors that we know contribute to death and injury on our roads, which is sadly what appears to have happened here,” Greally said.
“To have five lives lost in an instant is a terrible tragedy… Particularly in a small community, the impact of a crash like this stretches far, and everyone in the area will be hurting,” Greally also said.
According to the police, a formal identification of the victims remains ongoing.
Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen told news media website Stuff that he was “absolutely gutted” to learn of the fatal crash.
“We haven’t had a large accident like this where there’s been multiple deaths for some time,” Bowen said.
The crash is New Zealand’s worst since September 2019 when a tourist bus flipped during a bad weather near the city of Rotorua, killing five.
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