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Man arrested after five hour standoff

Man arrested after five hour standoff

A 38 year old man has been arrested and is currently being interviewed by Police in Greymouth following an incident yesterday afternoon in which two female tourists were found on the side of the road at Franz Josef with serious injuries about 4pm.

Tasman District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers said the women had been hitchhiking and said they had been picked up at Whataroa earlier afternoon by a man driving a blue Nissan Terrano.

He said police were yet to establish exactly what happened in the vehicle that resulted in one of the women suffering pelvic injuries and the other receiving three knife wounds to the neck.

Police immediately saturated the surrounding areas with all available staff and road blocks were put in place on State Highway 6 to try and locate the vehicle. A helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft were also deployed.

A Police patrol located the vehicle south of Fox Glacier near Sugar Loaf Road shortly before 8.30pm. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit ensued.

The fleeing driver came across a road block at Paringa and turned and headed north again.

A further road block was established at Karangarua River, 25km south of Fox Glacier, to prevent the driver entering a built up area and that stopped the vehicle about 9.50pm. At that point the pursuit had lasted one and a half hours.

Armed staff surrounded the vehicle and began negotiating with the man. Meanwhile Armed Offenders Squad members from Tasman District, Dunedin and Christchurch were flown to the area by helicopter to assist.

The standoff lasted more than five hours before the man was overpowered about 3am and taken into custody.

A 28 year old German woman and a 27 year old woman of Japanese and Dutch origin are both in Grey Base Hospital where their conditions are stable. They are both recovering well and talking with Police.

Superintendent Chambers said Police were very grateful for the assistance they received from members of the public during the incident, providing information on sightings of the vehicle.

He also acknowledged the assistance given to Tasman District by Police from Dunedin and Christchurch.

"It's been a long night for everyone involved, but the Police staff who responded did a very professional job and as a result we had matter resolved as quickly as possible," he said.

end

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