Fatal plunge in North Otago 4WD trek

By Hamish MacLean

The route, on Ben Omar station, provided ''extreme 4WD'' opportunities and was well used by hunters. Photo / iStock
The route, on Ben Omar station, provided ''extreme 4WD'' opportunities and was well used by hunters. Photo / iStock

Police have released the name of a woman who died after a 4WD driven by her husband plunged 300m down a slope in a remote location near Omarama yesterday.

She was Patricia Standish-White, 88, of Nelson.

Police hold concerns for her husband, who remains in hospital.

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said he did not know if the convoy of nine 4WD vehicles trekking through the upper Waitaki high country was part of a club or just a group of friends, but he said all were from the Nelson area; a number were of retirement age.

''It is an amazingly scenic area but obviously a dangerous area, you need to be experienced,'' Mr Woodbridge said.

''People in the party were experienced.''

The route, on Ben Omar station, provided ''extreme 4WD'' opportunities and was well used by hunters.

The group had the owner's permission to use the area.

Both the 89-year-old man and woman were ejected from the vehicle as it fell down the tussock-and-scree-covered slope about 11.20am, he said. Members of the party, who were retired doctors, made it to the victims before emergency services arrived at the scene.

Mr Woodbridge said those who attended to their friend had done an ''amazing job'', before the man was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital.

He did not comment on the nature of the man's injuries but said police had ''concerns for him''.

Access to the site of the crash was difficult as the track leading to the ''very remote'' crash scene was ''tricky and treacherous'', but emergency services arrived within the hour, he said.

The community had rallied yesterday he said, providing support for members of the group as well as emergency services at the scene.

WorkSafe was informed of the incident but police were leading the investigation.

The investigation is ongoing.

- Otago Daily Times

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