Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Crash family slowly recover

Photo / Paul Taylor
Photo / Paul Taylor

Eight members of a family who were injured when their van hurtled down a cliff on the Napier Taupo road last week are recovering well in hospital, a family member says.

All eight occupants of the van, which was crushed in the 15-metre drop, were airlifted to Hawkes Bay Hospital injuries ranging from with serious to critical last Thursday.

The injured driver, Sandeep Singh, managed to climb back up the cliff carrying his seriously injured baby nephew to alert a passing motorist to the crash.

Today family spokesperson Baldev Raj said the family was improving.

A 9-year-old girl injured in the crash was now in a stable condition and had been moved to the children's ward, he said in a statement.

He said the Singh family wanted to thank the public and the wider Sikh community ``for all their messages, prayers and support''.

Mr Raj said it had been a ``very emotional and stressful'' time, and again thanked the emergency services and Hawke's Bay Hospital for their care.

He also said reports that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel were incorrect.

Initial reports from emergency services suggested the driver had fallen asleep while driving.

However, he said because the crash was the subject of a police investigation the family could not make any further comment about how the crash had occurred.

All eight of the Singh family members remain in hospital, but are now in stable conditions.

Manmeet Singh, aged 6 months, remains in a serious but stable condition in the high dependency unit at Hawke's Bay Hospital. His mother, Sukhwinder Kaur, is also serious but stable in a high dependency unit.

The baby's father, Jagtar, was transferred to Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch hospital for further treatment.

The couple's two daughters - Jaspreet, 9, and 8-year-old Amureet - are now both in stable conditions in the children's ward at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Driver Sandeep Singh is also stable.

SURVIVED: Police are amazed there were no fatalities due to the crash considering the location and condition of the van. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR
SURVIVED: Police are amazed there were no fatalities due to the crash considering the location and condition of the van. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR

Two other family members - men in their 20s - were also injured in the crash. One is stable in Hawke's Bay Hospital, while the other, Satvir Singh, has been transferred to Hutt Hospital for further treatment.

Jagtar and his wife had travelled to New Zealand where Mr Singh was raised, from their home in Melbourne where they have lived for the past 11 years, to take part in a Lohri - to commemorate the birth of a boy.

Manmeet was to have been the golden boy at the traditional Punjabi festival, which is staged every January 13 to commemorate the birth of a boy or the marriage of newlyweds.

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