A drunk British teenager on his gap year died when the car he was driving flew 72ft (22 metres) through the air and landed upside down in a paddock after he lost control on a country road in New Zealand.

Jack Steven Roberts was working as trainee gamekeeper at Craigmore Station in Maungati, a large farm in the foothills of the Southern Alps in South Canterbury, on the country’s South Island.

Emergency services found the 18-year-old farm worker from Stroud, Gloucestershire, upside down in the driver’s seat and unresponsive, with his seat belt still on.

The passenger Harry Campion – also from the UK and who also worked at the farm – was found on the ground unconscious but breathing.

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Jack Steven Roberts died after the car he was driving crashed in 2018

Roberts’ death in February 2018 was an “avoidable tragedy”, Christchurch coroner Sue Johnson said in an inquest decision released on Monday (May 30).

Police said the major causes of the crash were alcohol and excessive speed.

The teenager was found to have consumed more than three times the legal limit for drivers 20 years and older, while those under-18 having a zero alcohol limit.

Skid marks showed the car braked and skidded for 220ft (67 metres) before leaving the road, skidding a further 40ft (12 metres) on the grass before going over the edge of a bank.

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The station wagon was airborne for 72ft (22 metres) before crashing 20ft (six metres) down onto the paddock below, barrel-rolling before coming to a stop upside down.

Scene of the crash
The car landed upside down after leaving the road at around 85mph

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The coroner said the Subaru was going at an estimated 86mph (138km/h) before braking.

A group of night hunters found the wreckage at about 2am.

A post-mortem examination showed Roberts had multiple injuries to the head, both arms, the neck, chest and abdomen, and a shoulder injury from the seat belt.

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Forensic pathologist Dr Thambirajah Balachandra found the direct cause of death was multiple injuries, with positional asphyxia, with Roberts’ upside-down, strapped-in position hindering his breathing.

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