The body of a person lay trapped in a car for more than three hours after a fatal crash on State Highway 22 near Karaka yesterday.
The three-car crash occurred on Karaka Rd near Whangapouri Rd, less than 2km before a passing lane, just before 3.30pm.
One person was killed, one received life-threatening injuries and one moderate injuries.
The crash was so severe that the body of the dead person had to be removed using heavy cutting equipment. One firefighter described it as a "grisly scene".
The collision left the three cars - including a silver Jeep and red hatchback - strewn across the road with both lanes subsequently closed.
The hatchback was perched on a bank on the roadside while the Jeep was in the middle on the road, with the third car - which had the trapped body in it - in front of the Jeep.
Inspector Matt Sillars said police were still trying to figure out how the crash occurred.