About eight cows had to be put down after an accident involving a stock truck near Alexandra, police say.

A crate from a fully loaded stock truck travelling north towards the Hawea area, containing about 27 cows, fell off the vehicle on a bend at Gorge Creek, south of Alexandra, yesterday morning.

Constable Tamah Carson, of Alexandra, said police called a vet to the scene to check the stock.

With the help of a local farmer and a passing truck driver, the remaining stock were placed in a nearby field.


The driver, who was not injured, was "probably a bit shaken up" but was more concerned about the cows, Const Carson said.

Waikaka Transport manager Greg Kirk confirmed the truck was owned by the company but did not want to comment until further details became clear.

However, police, firefighters, the salvage crew and the farmer involved all did a fantastic job and the livestock were dealt with in a humane manner, he said.

He had been in contact with the cattle's owners and sharemilkers, and "had everything at that end covered".

Const Carson said that when the accident occurred, about 7.30am, it was not yet full daylight and it had been raining "on and off" all morning.

Police and firefighters attending the accident closed the road. It was temporarily reopened to traffic at 8.30am, before being closed again while the crate was removed and the scene cleared about 10.30am.

The cause of the accident had not yet been determined and police inquiries were continuing, she said.

Federated Farmers Otago president Stephen Korteweg said it was a busy time of year for farmers. Large numbers of trucks were on the roads as stock was moved for Gypsy Day, June 1, which was the first day of the dairy season, and for winter grazing.

"It's a stressful time of year for man, beast and trucking companies. All parties should just be a little more understanding and careful."

Accidents such as this seldom happened, he said.

"Fortunately, for the number of trucks on the road, the number of incidents is very low."