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Community mourns the loss of three crash victims

Published: 5:45AM Saturday April 26, 2014

A tight-knit Southland community is mourning the loss of three men killed in a crash near Waikaia just before midnight Friday.

Christopher Simpson, 39, Matthew McKee, 39, and Ewan Christie, 59, were driving a Toyota Hilux which struck the edge of a concrete bridge on the Riversdale-Waikaia Road. All three men died at the scene.

The small town of Riversdale and Waikaia mourned the loss of the three local men. Today, the local rugby team observed a minute's silence before taking the field against rivals Mataura.

Those ONE News spoke to say the tragedy was too raw to discuss.

Police say their hearts go out to the local community.

"The three men are locally known in that community. It's obviously a small, well-knit strong, community and it will be very badly affected," says Southland area commander inspector Lane Todd.

Police too have been affected by the tragedy.

"Our local staff know some of the families and also the Fire Servcice and Ambulance who attended will have known them as well," says Mr Todd.

A police investigation is ongoing into whether alcohol or speed were a factor in the accident.

The crash happened on a straight stretch of road in wet conditions, however, the three men were familiar with the road.

"We'll be looking obviously at the weather conditions at the time," says Mr Todd.

"Alcohol could possibly be a factor but that's something we'll have to determine as part of an ongoing investigation and will be determined by the Coroner in due course."
Police are urging drivers to be vigilant especially in the dark and the wet as the region prepares for the beginning of the duck shooting season next weekend.