Rugby players to the rescue
A group of Porirua touch rugby players helped out at the scene of a car crash on January 25.
An out- of- control four- wheeldrive and caravan careered across the highway between traffic and into a ditch near Shannon.
Constable Charlie Rudd said the northbound Nissan Terrano and caravan crossed the centre line in a gap between southbound vehicles on State Highway 57.
‘‘It could have been worse. It could have hit any car on the way back. The road’s pretty busy,’’ he said.
The Porirua rugby players were returning from a tournament in Palmerston North. They were in the southbound line of vehicles and saw the accident unfold in front of them about 5pm.
Northern United player Daley Harper was in the front passenger seat and said it was a crazy experience seeing the caravan and car hurtle towards them.
He said the car and caravan crossed the centre line about two seconds, or 100 metres, in front of them as they were travelling at about 100kmh.
‘‘They were taking up both sides of the road, so they were sliding sideways,’’ Harper said. ‘‘Then the caravan just whipped around in front of us and went into the ditch.
The car ended on its left side in the ditch.
‘‘We couldn’t open the driver’s door. It must have been jammed. So one of the boys jumped through the back door, got inside and we ended up getting the driver’s door open and pulling the man out.
‘‘ We asked who else was in there and he said his wife.’’
She was unconscious, and with water coming through the car from the ditch and the car smoking they pulled her out as quickly as they could.
‘‘ We were just freaking out, hoping she wasn’t dead.’’
They lay the woman on the side of the road with a pillow under her head until the medics came. Harper said she had cuts on her head and arms, probably from the windscreen shattering.
‘‘Luckily there was no lamp-post around there. They would have been gone.’’
An off-duty nurse and policeman helped attend to the couple before paramedics arrived, said Mr Rudd.
He said the Paraparaumu couple, in their 70s, were uninjured, but the two-berth 1960s caravan was a write-off and their vehicle was also badly damaged.
The contents of the caravan were strewn around the scene, and the caravan fell to pieces when it was loaded on to a trailer.
Mr Rudd said the couple were heading off on holiday to Palmerston North when the man lost control going down Laws Hill, about 5km south of Shannon.
‘‘He tried to pick up a bit of pace to get control, and then the caravan came around and the back fishtailed and flung him to the right.
He crossed the centre-line and ran into a ditch.
‘‘It was lucky because he went in between two vehicles.’’
Mr Rudd praised the actions of the touch players.
‘‘A lot of people saw what they did and clapped them out when they left.’’
Sorry sight: A scene from the crash