THREE generations of one family who were killed in a horror head-on collision have been pictured for the first time.
The tragic crash occurred Sunday morning in Picton, New Zealand, when the driver of the van collided head-on with a refrigerated truck.
Police confirmed seven of the nine on board were killed, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Images of the scene show the van completely destroyed and crumpled up by the impact on State Highway 1.
A heartbroken friend of the seven people killed in the horror crash on the town in the South Island has spoken out about spending his last night with them in Christchurch before they were killed “in the blink of an eye”.
“You spend every spare moment thinking of the what-ifs and the whys,” Bill revealed to Newstalk ZB Canterbury Mornings host John MacDonald.
He continued: “They spent some of their last hours on earth with me on Saturday night, Sunday morning.
“This was a vibrant family — my friend was a high school teacher … his wife started an online business and he was really proud of her.
“They had four boys and girls … one of the boys had married a Taiwanese young lady and it was their baby that died.
“I was really taken with this young woman, she was so nice and it really hits home at my heart that she’s gone and the baby’s gone.
“Her husband survived … he’s going to wake up and find that he’s now alone.”
Bill said the family planned to travel from his to Wellington and had been taking turns behind the wheel.
He added his friend told him he was really proud of their safe driving efforts.
The crash has sent shock waves through the small community.
Romy Udanga, an Auckland Filipino community leader, said he was distraught to learn those killed were members of the community.
“This is really a terrible and shocking news for the community, and all our thoughts are with the families and those affected,” Mr Udanga said.
“It really also serves as a wake-up call for others in the community to be extra careful on the roads this long weekend.”
Matilde Figuracion, a Filipino living in Wellington, was meant to have travelled on the same ferry as those involved in the crash.
“The crash happened just minutes before us, and the roads were closed when we reached the Picton area. I was in shock when I heard what happened,” she said.
Emilie Shi, a former consul general of the Philippines, has confirmed the bodies of the deceased have been transferred to Christchurch, and the consul general in the town “is assisting with the matter”.
Inspector Simon Feltham has said an investigation into the crash itself was progressing.
“Police can confirm that one of the deceased was the driver of the van at the time of the crash.
“As such, the matter will be referred to the Coroner in due course.
“Police’s focus remains on gathering information to assist the Coroner, and on supporting the victims in this crash and our first responders.”