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Police have named a Christchurch man who was killed when the light van he was a passenger in left the road at Bruce Bay, north of Haast in South Westland yesterday.

Keith Vickery Hollobon, 80, died at the scene of the crash about 9.30am yesterday.

The 79-year-old driver, who police haven't named, was airlifted to Grey Base Hospital with serious injuries, then transferred to Christchurch Hospital last night.

Detective Constable Tania Jellyman, of Greymouth CIB, said Mr Hollobon and his close friend, also from Christchurch, had been whitebaiting in the Haast area and were believed to be travelling back to Christchurch as they were expected home yesterday.

Police said a large tree went through the windscreen of the Toyota van when it left the road and crashed into bush at Bruce Bay, 46km southwest of Fox Glacier.

Ms Jellyman said Mr Hollobon is survived by his wife and adult children.

Initial inquiries suggested fatigue might have been a factor in the crash, but the police serious crash unit was investigating.