Christmas crash caused power cut

By Kiri Gillespie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
Two cars and a campervan collided on SH2 north of Katikati, causing powerlines to come down which cut power to may homes on Christmas Day. Photo / John Borren
Two cars and a campervan collided on SH2 north of Katikati, causing powerlines to come down which cut power to may homes on Christmas Day. Photo / John Borren

Christmas lunch preparations were thrown into turmoil for hundreds of families when a car crash cut power to 500 Katikati homes.

A three-car collision knocked out power in the Athenree, Tahawai and Tanners Point areas for several hours on Christmas Day.

Three vehicles travelling north, toward Auckland, were involved in a collision at Tuapiro Rd at 10.15am.

No one was seriously hurt but a female driver was taken to Tauranga Hospital to be checked.

Powerco said it was able to restore supply to most customers by 11.25am but around 50 customers remained powerless until the power pole was replaced.

Richard Fullerton-Smith, who called 111 after the crash outside his home, said he had been planning Christmas dinner for himself and his mother, sister and nephews when they lost power.

"We heard it bang here, then another one going bang, bang, bang, bang.

"I knew there must have been an accident," he said.

Mr Fullerton-Smith had been watching television when the power was cut. He said a petrol generator usually used for frost control helped keep power going for a short while "but it's really only enough to boil the jug".

"So I'm going to get some gas from my neighbours and get my barbecue bottle and cook all my veges on the barbecue in a big pot," he said.

Mr Fullerton-Smith said the power outage had put a dampener on the day.

"It's wrecked everybody's Christmas.

"All these poor people, it's wrecked that," Mr Fullerton-Smith said, referring to residents without power.

Western Bay of Plenty road policing Sergeant Wayne Hunter said a car waiting to turn right into Tuapiro Rd, north of Katikati, was hit hard by a car following it.

The driver of a campervan travelling behind the second vehicle was forced to brake and swerve to avoid the collision, Mr Hunter said.

The driver lost control of the campervan, which spun 180 degrees and left the road, crashing into a power pole.

Lines were down along the side of the road for at least an hour.

Emergency services monitored traffic while working to clear the road of the wreckage.

Mr Hunter said the traffic was surprisingly heavy for Christmas Day and it was fortunate the lines were not down across the highway.

"I've seen a lot of Christmas presents in these cars going past, so there's a lot of people going places for their Christmas," Mr Hunter said.

The driver of one vehicle had been travelling to Auckland to catch a 2pm flight to Australia, he said.

Another driver lived down Tuapiro Rd while the occupants of the campervan were visitors.

A fourth vehicle travelling south was clipped by one of the cars during the collision but was not badly damaged.

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