A Whangarei toddler is in a critical condition after being hit while crossing a busy road.
The boy, aged 3, was struck by a car in front of family members on Paramount Parade in the suburb of Tikipunga about 12.30pm on Friday.
The boy, Lyric Mahanga, was walking home from kindergarten with his mother Jacqueline, aunt Doreen and cousin when he was hit. It is believed he was flung on to the bonnet of the car before landing on the road.
The boy's auntie had crossed the road when the toddler unexpectedly darted after her. Witnesses say they saw a woman running down the road screaming, "My baby, my baby" after the accident. A passing motorist rushed the injured boy to Whangarei Hospital and he was flown by helicopter to Auckland's Starship Hospital. He was being treated at the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit.
One neighbour, who lives next door to Lyric's grandparents on Paramount Parade, said he and other residents helped remove Lyric from underneath a car. "I went out to help when I heard screams. Me and a few others lifted the car up. He wasn't trapped under the tyres or anything, just underneath the car."
Another neighbour, who said the road was dangerous, said she heard yelling and went out of her house to see people putting Lyric in a car.
"It's scary, especially when it happened to my neighbour's child." No charges have been laid.
Residents have reported a girl being dragged under a car just metres from where Lyric was hit. They said a young boy died a few years ago after being hit by a car and a girl on her bike had also been struck and killed.
- Additional reporting: APNZBy Imran Ali