Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Three deadly early morning crashes

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A young man ran to the aid of three teenagers who crashed into a house in south Auckland this morning, but was unable to save the driver.

The 16-year-old driver is thought to have died on impact with the house in Otara, while his teen passengers were taken to Middlemore Hospital in serious but stable conditions.

The crash took place around 4.20am on the corner of Franklyne Road and Alexander Crescent, and collapsed the home's master bedroom onto the car.

Katai Liu, 18, lives opposite the house the car smashed into and was woken by the sound of the stolen Subaru's roaring engine.

"I looked out the window and saw the car hit into the house," he said.

Police and emergency services are working at the scene of the car crash in Otara. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Police and emergency services are working at the scene of the car crash in Otara. Photo / Sarah Ivey

His sister rang emergency services while he ran to help the car's occupants.

"One of the passengers came out screaming for help. He said 'There's petrol', and I went to the house to get a bucket of water and tip it over the car.

"I managed to pull the other passenger, not right out of the car, but to safety, so the ambulance people's job would be easier for them to carry him out of the car."

Mr Liu described the situation as "scary" and said it's the first time in the six years he's lived in the neighbourhood that he's seen anything like this happen.

He said the deceased boy had been two years below him in school, and while he didn't know him very well described him as a nice guy who was "easy to get on with".

"I just wish I could have done more for [him]," Mr Liu said.

Police said the Subaru had been stolen, but police were not in pursuit at the time. It was not yet known if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Police said the boy's name would not be released until next of kin were notified.

Emergency services were still working to extract the vehicle from the house.

Fire Service northern communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said the house was searched and at least two people were found to be trapped in the vehicle.

One was removed and treated by ambulance staff while the body of the driver remained in the car.

"The car's gone into the house, actually under the house, and then the house has come down on top of the car," Mr Phillips said.

"The body of the driver is still in the vehicle, and the car will actually have to be pulled out from under the house. We're just looking at equipment in terms of being able to remove the car."

Mr Phillips said firefighters had stabilised the badly damaged house with timber cribbing.

Both roads have been closed and the police serious crash unit is investigating.

It was the second of three fatal crashes today, with two people killed in crashes in Warkworth and Whangarei this morning.

A man in his 20s was killed when a vehicle crashed into a tree south of Warkworth.

Police said the car's sole occupant died at the scene on State Highway 1, near Valerie Close, about 3am.

Firefighters searched the area to make sure no one else had been thrown from the car in the crash.

Police said the cause of the crash was unknown and the Waitemata police serious crash unit was investigating.

The investigation would take at least several weeks to complete and would consider all possible factors including speed, alcohol and weather conditions.

SH1 was closed in both directions for several hours, with diversions along SH16, but has since reopened.

However, the highway was closed further north after a fatal crash in Whangarei later this morning.

One man died and another man was injured when two cars collided on the Western Hills Drive stretch of SH1 in Kensington about 7.40am.

Police said speed was believed to be a cause of the crash.

A northbound black Mitsubishi Libero was seen speeding along Western Hills Drive before it hit another car that was pulling out of a side lane opposite Kensington Ave.

The driver of the northbound car, its sole occupant, died at the scene, while the driver of the other car was taken to Whangarei Hospital with moderate injuries.

Police would like to speak to anyone who saw the crash or the northbound Mitsubishi Libero before the crash.

They would also like to speak to the driver of a late model light blue Volkswagen car.

Diversions were put in place along Kamo Rd but SH1 has since reopened.


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