A male motorist is dead after a train crushed the cab of his light truck in a grisly collision at an unmarked level crossing south of Dannevirke late yesterday afternoon.
At the time of going to print last night police could not confirm if the man was the only fatality at the scene.
Sergeant Jymahl Glassey of the Pahiatua Police said the accident occurred at about 4.50pm on the Powdrell Rd railway crossing.
Mr Glassey said the truck, which was loaded with firewood, was crossing from the dead-end side of the road, where the impact from the southbound train pushed it off the road, where it was shunted down a ditch.
Inspector Bruce Mackay said the train driver received no injures.
"I'd imagine he's pretty distraught, though," Mr Mackay said.
The fully laden milk train, hauling 12 tankers, with an estimated 400,000 litres of milk, was travelling from the Oringi railhead south of Dannevirke towards Woodville. After the collision it stopped about 1km from the impact and needed to be checked before being able to continue.
Mr Mackay said the crash was sufficiently far away from the highway to avoid causing any traffic delays.
The age of the truck driver was unknown.
The Woodville volunteer fire brigade were at the scene, along with St John and KiwiRail staff.
The fatality happened on the same day KiwiRail and the Chris Cairns Foundation were warning people to take care around railway lines and was the 20th recorded death on the rail network tracks this year, including 15 people who were trespassing, one death in a vehicle level crossing collision and three deaths at pedestrian level crossings.
"People need to remember that trains are quiet, they move faster than they appear and take a very long time to stop, said KiwiRail general manager, infrastructure and engineering, Rick van Barneveld.
"At all times we are urging people to take care and be aware around the railway, to always obey the signs and make sure the lines are clear of trains before they cross the tracks."
The Powdrell Rd crossing was particularly dangerous said one local man who didn't want to be named.
"I always take extra care there because it's damn dangerous."additional reporting: APN