Holiday road toll rises to 18 after fatal crash

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A woman has been killed and two others seriously injured in a head-on smash north of Hunterville this afternoon.

The woman, a passenger in a van, died at the scene of the crash on State Highway 1 10km north of Hunterville while the drivers of both vehicles were taken to hospital in serious conditions.

Police said a southbound vehicle crossed the centre line and hit the northbound van about 12.45pm.

One driver, a man in his late 20s, suffered multiple fractures and was taken to Palmerston North hospital by helicopter. The other driver was taken to Wanganui Hospital.

Palmerston North rescue helicopter pilot Marc Bridgeman said the crash happened on a straight stretch of road.

"As you'd imagine from a head-on, high-speed collision there's pretty significant damage out there,'' he told APNZ.

The police serious crash unit was investigating and a kaumatua had been called in to bless the crash site.

Police closed SH1 at the scene and diversions were in place, but Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery of Central Districts highway patrol said the road reopened around 4.30pm.

The crash takes the holiday road toll to 18. The official Christmas-New Year holiday period ends at 4am tomorrow.

- APNZ

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