Winter road chaos


Black ice caused chaos on Queenstown roads during the past week.

Dozens of drivers lost control of their vehicles on large patches of sheet ice resulting in minor injuries and fender benders.

A minivan (right) was left perched precariously on a rock after a female driver in her 20s slid on ice and grit at 9.30am last Wednesday. The woman was not injured.

Officers had to attend more than a dozen vehicles strewn across the road at McChesney Bridge near Arthur’s Point at 7.30am on Sunday.

“It was reported sheet ice had made the area impassable and dozens of cars were sliding all over the place,” Blackford says.

Officers managed to clear the road, helped motorists and put out ‘chains mandatory’ signs.

Police were called to five accidents on Monday morning, with many other vehicles slipping in the conditions.

A 52-year-old Queenstown woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries after losing control of her car on Domain Road at 8.30am. The car went through a fence, breaking a fence post and damaging a tree.

Other motorists slid off the road due to sheet ice on Frankton Road, Gorge Road, various places on State Highway 6, the Glenorchy-Queenstown road and elsewhere.

Blackford says drivers should leave greater stopping distances, drive cautiously in such conditions, and only travel if necessary.

Search heroes busy

Four men were rescued by helicopter from Gibbston Valley after being caught outdoors in freezing temperatures. 

The men were in a 4WD vehicle, which crashed on land near Coal Pit Road on Saturday evening.

They tried to walk to a nearby hut but called for help as the temperature dropped.

“They became very cold,” senior constable Chris Blackford says.

A search and rescue operation was launched and they were airlifted to safety at 10pm.

It was the second helicopter rescue in the Wakatipu in as many weeks. Last Tuesday, two Australian brothers were saved after they became lost in steep terrain near The Remarkables skifield.

The brothers, missing since 4pm, were winched out by a crew from Southern Lakes Helicopters and a member of Queenstown Alpine Cliff Rescue at 10pm. The brothers used their camera flash to signal the pilot who was wearing night vision goggles.

‘Stolen’ credit card arrest

A 31-year-old Mexican man was arrested at 9.15pm last Thursday for allegedly using a stolen credit card to purchase items off the internet.

Senior constable Chris Blackford said police officers searched the man’s Queenstown house with the authority of a search warrant and as a result the man was arrested.

The Mexican is facing three fraud charges and two charges in relation to unlawful access of a computer.

Mystery assault

Inquiries are continuing after a man suffered serious facial injuries when he was punched in a Queenstown night club.

The 37-year-old man was assaulted on the dance floor at Sky Bar on Camp Street at 3am last Saturday.

The victim was punched in the face by an unknown male and taken to Lakes District Hospital at Frankton for treatment.