A nasty car crash on the outskirts of town almost spelled disaster for the 2012 Queenstown Chess Classic.
Organiser Paul Spiller, 54, and his wife Joanne were driving along Highway 6 on their way to the resort last Friday when the accident happened.
A taxi coming the other way spun on a bend near Roaring Meg, hit the barrier and then their van – which contained all the tournament equipment.
Spiller, from Auckland, says: “It was very traumatic.
“We basically thought we were going to be killed. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured.
“My wife Joanne has some bruises and was pretty shaken by the whole thing. It’s one of those nasty experiences I guess.
“It was a very wet day and the taxi lost control, snaked across the road about 100 metres in front of us, hit the barrier and then started coming towards us sideways. I avoided a head-on but it hit us and smashed my van up.
“We had all the equipment for the tournament, everything – all the sets, the electronic gear, computer gear, banners.”
Spiller praised the police, fire brigade and paramedics who attended the scene – and the Cromwell tow-truck driver who agreed to bring the van to Queenstown so they could retrieve the equipment.
“The tournament would not have been able to go ahead on time.
“The police and emergency services were fantastic. They took us to hospital to get checked over.
“We had to abandon the van but managed to convince the tow-truck driver to bring it from Cromwell to Queenstown on the truck that night.
“There was a lot of glass over everything but only minor damage, the hard drive and some clocks.”
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