Police have confirmed five young men were killed in a crash near Timaru last night.
Aoraki Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin spoke to media from Timaru Police Station this morning and confirmed five young men – all aged 15 and 16 – have died.
All were Timaru boys.
“Timaru’s a very small community…It is a tragedy and it will reverberate around our community for a long time,” Gaskin said.
Gaskin confirmed one of the dead boys was found in the boot of the car.
He said his thoughts and prayers were with the family of the young men.
The crash happened at an intersection just north of Timaru. The car is understood to have struck a concrete power pole on Seadown Rd. Photo / Kurt Bayer
“They woke up today to a nightmare that won’t go away,” he said.
Police are yet to speak to the driver, who is understood to be a 19-year-old in a stable condition at Timaru Hospital.
There were six people in the car, and not all were wearing seatbelts.
“Cars are not toys,” Gaskin said.
“When not used properly, they are extremely dangerous.”
“Five young boys at that age losing their lives is terrible,” Gaskin added.
The car was overloaded, and police said there were insufficient seats and restraints for the number of people travelling.
The vehicle involved was a Nissan Bluebird sedan.
Gaskin said all five deceased were “Timaru boys”, the impact on the local community would be huge, and he even knew the family of one of the boys himself.
Gaskin confirmed someone had called 111 about “anti-social road users” earlier last night and that staff were out before the crash.
The area, which had long straights, was a favourite for boy racers, he said.
Gaskin added: “Unfortunately young people in vehicles do silly things and sometimes the consequences are serious”.
All families had been informed, Gaskin said, but the identities of the boys would not be released until all next of kin had been informed.
A member of the public driving along the road discovered the crash, and called emergency services.
“To have five lives lost in an instant is a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts are with their families,” Superintendent Steve Greally of the National Road Policing Centre said.
Police said the crash happened at the intersection of Seadown Rd and Meadows Rd in Washdyke, at about 7.20pm.
“This will be extremely devastating,” Timaru mayor Nigel Bowen said.
“It is devastating for the district, and from what I hear, a lot of kids were pretty frantic last night trying to find out if their friends were involved,” he told Newstalk ZB.
“It’s pretty saddening for the community, and something that hasn’t happened in our township for a long time.”