By Louise Scott
A Queenstown man seriously injured in a head-on smash yesterday says his immediate reaction was to help the driver who collided with him.
In pain and bleeding, Dan Turner, 32, dragged himself out of his car and carried the woman from her burning vehicle, afraid it would explode and injure them more.
Turner said he was driving his work ute to the gym, as he did most mornings, along Malaghans Rd near the turn-off to Coronet Peak just after 6am, when he and a rental car driven by a German tourist collided at speed.
Speaking from the Lakes District Hospital yesterday, he said he thought the initial impact caused him to "black out" for a minute or two.
"When I snapped out of it and came around again, my reaction was just adrenaline."
The woman's car had burst into flames.
"I'd gone over to the car to try and see if the other person was all right because of the flames. And then the whole car just went up."
Turner, a foreman for Trinity Development Alliance, said the woman had got out, but was stumbling back towards the burning vehicle.
He calmed her down and went to her aid.
"I carried her away from the car just in case something would explode.
"The last thing I was thinking about was myself until the ambulance pulled up. Then I sat down and thought 'I am pretty smashed'."
Sounding shaken from the ordeal, he described how he hit emergency dial on his phone.
However, because of his own injuries, he was unable to speak.
Luckily, someone else arrived to help.
Turner said he had no time to avoid the oncoming vehicle. He saw two headlights "a second" before impact.
"It was pretty much a blind corner. There was no reaction time. It just happened and I didn't see her coming. I saw the lights and - done."
When he spotted the flames, he thought they might be coming from his vehicle.
He had a broken nose, a cut knee and a swollen face and there was ''blood everywhere'', he said.
Turner later told police it was like he had played six rugby games against Jonah Lomu.
Despite his injuries, Turner was relieved he and the other driver were able to walk away.
Crews from the Arrowtown and Queenstown fire brigades attended the blaze, which was quickly extinguished.
Both drivers were taken to Lakes District Hospital.
The German woman was treated for a fractured finger and moderate injuries, Sergeant Chris Brooks, of Queenstown, said.
He confirmed the woman was driving on "the wrong side of the double yellow lines and the cars met on the bend".
At the scene, he told the Otago Daily Times the speed at which the collision occurred appeared to have caused the rental vehicle to burst into flames.
He stressed how lucky the pair were and said Turner could have died if he had not been wearing his seatbelt.
Investigations were ongoing and charges were being considered, he said.
The crash, between the Skippers Rd/Littles Rd intersection and North Ridge Rd, closed Malaghans Rd for a time.