Police name crash victim

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Photo / TrustPower TECT Rescue Helicopter
Photo / TrustPower TECT Rescue Helicopter

The 5-month-old baby who died after the car she was in crashed head-on into an oncoming truck in Bay of Plenty has been identified by police.

She was Varnah Brass, from Kaitaia.

Varnah was travelling to Gisborne with her 4-year-old sister, mother and grandmother, who was driving, when the car crashed.

Police said the car drifted across the centre line and hit the light truck on Thornton Bridge near Whakatane just before 2pm on Sunday.

The children's father was driving behind the vehicle and saw the tragedy unfold, Edgecumbe acting fire chief Roddy Hendl said.

''[The father] made efforts to get into the car - smashing windows.''

A passing doctor immediately started helping critically injured Varnah, working on her for an hour before travelling with the youngster to Whakatane Hospital's emergency department, he said.

"He was obviously a great help. He worked intensively on the poor baby and did a fantastic job,'' Mr Hendl said.

Varnah was transferred to Auckland's Starship Hospital but died there on Sunday night.

Her 4-year-old sister was flown to Auckland Hospital, where a spokesman said she was in a stable condition.

The children's 26-year-old mother, who was sitting in the back seat with the children, was also injured and was also in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital.

Eastern Bay of Plenty ambulance territory manager Richard Waterson said the 58-year-old grandmother suffered leg injuries. She was in a stable condition, a Whakatane Hospital spokesman said.

Sergeant Ray Wylie said the serious crash unit is investigating.

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