Updated 8.40pm:

State Highway 29a has been reopened.

UPDATEd 7.55pm: A second person has died in hospital following a multiple car crash on SH29a between Baypark and Maungatapu this afternoon.

Police have confirmed a second person died in Tauranga Hospital.

UPDATED: Police have confirmed one person has died in the serious crash on SH29a.

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Several other people suffered serious injuries, though details were still unclear, police said.

"It appears to have involved five vehicles and occurred after a car broke down."

The west bound lanes have been closed and diversions were in place and would be closed for the next two hours.

Motorists have been urged to avoid the area while serious crash unit investigate.

Read more: Road closed following Pyes Pa crash
Earlier: Reports are coming in that at least one person is dead following a five-car pile up on State Highway 29a.

The main highway from Mount Maunganui and Maungatapu has been closed to traffic as police and emergency services deal with the scene. Police were called to the crash at 4.16pm.

The west bound lane is expected to be closed for several hours.

At least one person has been killed and two are injured. It is understood the crash has involved two men and a woman seen changing a tyre on the left side of the highway.

Two people have been taken to Tauranga Hospital. It is understood they have been seriously injured.

A passer by caught up in east-bound traffic said ''it looks like a nasty crash".

The woman was heading home to Te Puke but was caught up in traffic about 300m on the eastern side of Maungatapu Bridge about 5.20pm.

The woman, who would not be named, said she could see a person lying on the ground with what looked like a white cover over them.

''There are no ambulances here. They must have already gone," she said.

The traffic was ''absolutely crawling.''

Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible.