Three children die as van hits ditch

  BackBritton Broun

THREE children are dead and their mother and brother are in hospital after their vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a culvert near Shannon.
The family believed to have been returning to their Palmerston North home after an outing in Horowhenua when the crash took place on State Highway 56 yesterday afternoon.

The mother and her son, 8, were both in a critical condition last night. Two children, a boy aged two and a girl agreed three, died in the crash. Their sister, 6, survived the impact but died in Palmerston North hopspital’s intensive care unit about 6pm. The eight-year-old boy was flown to Auckland’s Starship hospital last night. Police are mystified by the crash. A witness said the Toyota LiteAce, driven by the mother, veered off the road for no apparent reason and came to rest upside down in a five-metre-deep drain.
The vehicle was being followed by a car full of family and friends, Senior Constable Les Maddaford said. “Obviously it’s a family outing of some sort that’s gone tragically wrong. The family were behind and they had to watch it unfold in front of them.”
The vehicle was removed from the ditch by a crane, leaving children’s cushions, a baby’s bottle and a bright plastic ball floating in the culvert. The right front corner of the vehicle was crushed, the windscreen shattered and the sides dented.
Also yesterday, a man in his forties died when his ute crashed into a bridge on State Highway 2 near Woodville about 3pm. The vehicle then rolled down a bank, killing the only occupant, police said.

©Reproduced courtesy of the Dominion Post