A specialist Christchurch-based police search team was yesterday brought in to help in the hunt for a mystery object which killed 22-year-old Rutger Hale, as he drove near Lake Hawea last Thursday.

Mr Hale was hit by the object which smashed through the windscreen of the Subaru car in which he was travelling with his Alaskan partner Danielle Oylear, on their way to their dairy farming jobs in Hawea Flat.

Yesterday afternoon, a six-strong police special search group, using metal probes, began methodically combing the roadside at the site of the accident.

The officer in charge of the group, Senior Sergeant Paul Manhire, said the officers were looking for "anything of interest" and would be searching an undefined area for the rest of the day and again today.


Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron, who is heading the investigation, was in Wanaka for police briefings yesterday but could not be reached for comment throughout the day.

Following a post-mortem examination in Dunedin last Friday, Mr Hale's body was transported to his home town of Auckland at the weekend for his funeral, being held this Thursday.

Ms Oylear, who took the steering wheel and lifted Mr Hale's foot off the accelerator pedal after he was hit, travelled to Auckland with members of Mr Hale's family.

Mr Hale's great-uncle Pete Phillips, of Makarora, told the Otago Daily Times he had spoken to police yesterday and was left with the impression they still did not know what the object was.

The post-mortem on Mr Hale had shown "massive head trauma", Mr Phillips said.