24 Feb 2016

Families of dead NZ men rush to Australia

8:04 am on 24 February 2016

The families of three young Southland friends found dead in a car crash with a terrible twist have rushed to West Australia.

Esperance, in Western Australia

Esperance, in Western Australia Photo: Supplied

Dylan Sherriff and Jeremy Vergeer died when their ute rolled at the weekend on a remote road east of Perth.

Driver Kadin Wallace died from injuries he did not receive in the crash, before emergency services got there.

All three of the men's families are understood to have arrived in Western Australia.

Police are investigating the crash but it has been reported the men, all aged 24 or 25, were not wearing seatbelts.

Acting Sergeant Barbara Crane said another motorist came across the crashed ute early on Saturday and called police.

"It's believed that earlier in the night a white Toyota Hilux utility with three male occupants from New Zealand were travelling along an unsealed road when the vehicle rolled," she said.

"Two men aged 24 and 25 ... died as a result of their injuries they received in the crash. A 24-year-old man died from injuries he did not receive in the crash and police are preparing a report for the coroner."

Shock for locals

The trio, friends since school, had all been working on farms near the town of Esperance in Western Australia.

It has been a shock for people in their hometowns in the Southland towns of Otautau, Winton and Nightcaps.

Rayleen Hogg, born and bred in Nightcaps, found out about the deaths in a text from a friend.

"Oh, it's just horrific, it really is," she said. "I just feel for all the families, not just the Wallaces who I do know personally ... it's really hard to fathom really, it's just such a waste of life."

Ms Hogg worked with Kadin Wallace when he drove trucks at Nightcaps rural transport company TSL.

"Oh oh, that smile! He would go out of his way and say hello, you know. Yeah, just a brilliant worker, just a real fun-loving guy, just out to live life really, just out there to do anything."

Jeremy Vergeer had a young son and was due to be married.

His fiance, a West Australian woman, posted an online tribute describing him as "amazing, loyal and hardworking".