The three Hong Kong tourists killed when their rental van and a truck and trailer unit collided in Central Otago yesterday have been named by police.

The trio were part of a party of nine travelling New Zealand in two separate vehicles when the crash occurred on State Highway 6 near Luggate yesterday afternoon.

Male driver Wing Fai Chan, 60, also known as Allan, and two female rear-seat passengers - Kwai Tei Chong, 61, also known as Connie, and Yin Wan Ng, 56 - died at the scene.

The fourth occupant, a 59-year-old male front-seat passenger, was taken to Dunedin Hospital by the Otago Rescue Helicopter.

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He remained in a stable condition, said Inspector Olaf Jensen, relieving area commander for the Otago Rural region.

Some of the group's family members were expected to visit New Zealand in the next few days, police said.

A serious crash investigation was now complete and the road was open again.


The aftermath of the triple fatality. Photo / Mark Price

The driver of the truck, owned by Beckers Transport Ltd, a family-owned rural transport company based in Oturehua and Omakau, was shaken but not hurt.

Constable Greg Nolet earlier told the Otago Daily Times the van was turning from Shortcut Rd (State Highway 8a) on to SH6 at the bottom of the steep incline, south of Wanaka Airport, about 4.17pm.

The location is in a 100km/h zone, with Shortcut Rd governed by a give way sign.

Tyre marks from the truck were evident in the left-hand lane of the highway for about 50m.

The badly-damaged van ended up on its side on the highway and part of it was cut away to remove the bodies.

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The truck ended up on the wrong side of the road, with its trailer jack-knifed.

Mr Nolet said the van was one of two heading to Wanaka.

He said the intersection could be tricky, but he could recall only one previous incident there, in August last year, when a male cyclist was seriously injured in a crash with a van about 4pm.

On that occasion, police suggested sunstrike might have contributed to the crash.

A local resident told the ODT he regarded the intersection as particularly dangerous and had seen a "fair amount" of poor driving behaviour, with motorists "taking their chances" entering the highway from Shortcut Rd.

Wanaka St John and the Luggate and Wanaka Fire Volunteer Fire Brigades attended yesterday's crash.

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