Tourist and taxi driver injured in crash

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    A French tourist and a Waiheke taxi driver were injured in a head-on collision on Gordons Road last Friday. Emergency services were called just before 3.30pm after the French visitor’s camper van hit a Wai Not Taxi cab driving in the opposite direction. A St John Ambulance spokeswoman says ambulance crews took two people to hospital with moderate injuries.

    Gordons Road resident Lisa Thomas spotted the crash as she was coming out of her driveway and stopped to help. She says the French woman spoke little or no English, but Lisa knew French, so she acted as a translator between the tourist and emergency service crews while they worked to get her free of the camper van and check her injuries. “I just tried to keep her calm, because she was very upset and worried. She had no idea if she’d have to pay for the ambulance, and everything else, or if she was going to be arrested.”

    A Wai Not Taxis spokeswoman says the driver is recovering from his injuries, including fractured ribs and head injuries, but was more concerned for the French woman’s well-being while he was in hospital. The spokeswoman for the taxi company says the tourist was apparently driving on the wrong side of the road when they crashed, and it highlights a concern the company has had for a while now. Wai Not taxi drivers feel like they are seeing more people driving on the wrong side of the road this summer, particularly on roads to popular visitor spots such as Gordons Road. The Wai Not spokeswoman says the company hopes this crash will be a reminder for visitors and residents alike to be extra careful about their position on the island’s unmarked roads. The company would also like to see measures like arrows painted on the road along popular visitor routes to help international travellers keep things straight. • Paul Mitchell

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