Horror Ashburton crash: Driver remembered for his smile

The driver of a van involved in a horror crash near Ashburton on Friday has been remembered for his smile.

Avinash Chand and three others died after a truck and van crashed near the Ashburton River flood zone about 9.30am on Friday.

It is understood Chand was driving the van, taking passengers to the annual Golden Guitar music competition in Gore.

The other three victims – passengers in the van – were from the North Island.

Chand was a co-owner of Identity Tours Limited.

He moved to New Zealand from Fiji about 10 years ago.

The Herald has reached out to the company – which is temporarily closed – and Chand’s family.

In an online post a relative said he would be “remembered for his smile”.

“We will miss you Avi, you left us without any words,” she wrote.

Those who knew Chand also posted tributes.

“Its been an absolute honour knowing you Aviz,” said one friend.

“You have touched countless peoples lives and brought a smile to so many. Rest in peace and love. We will meet again one day.”

On Friday Area Commander Inspector David Gaskin confirmed that four people had died and blamed “a moment of inattention”.

He indicated that the van appeared to have gone through a controlled intersection at a time a fully laden truck was going past.

The truck driver was seriously injured.

“This is an absolute tragedy,” said Gaskin.

He urged people to be careful and take their time on the roads.

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