A 17-year-old passenger was the young man killed in a crash in Auckland.

Police told the Herald the teenager had been riding in the front seat when the car lost control and smashed into a tree on Ian McKinnon Drive in Eden Terrace.

No other details would be revealed until Monday, a police spokesman said.

An eyewitness claims the car was going "screaming" fast in the moments before the accident.

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One person died and two others were injured in the crash, which happened just before midday on Sunday.

Police officers and fire crews at the scene of the crash. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police officers and fire crews at the scene of the crash. Photo / Dean Purcell

Resident Sonia Greenslade believed she saw two cars, including the one later found wrapped around a tree, racing just before they crashed.

"I'm just distraught. As I was leaving my street I saw them just screaming past, they must have been going over 150km/h, they were racing."

Ms Greenslade claimed she saw a dark car overtake a silver car as she went to pull out of Haslett St on to Dominion Rd.

"I just thought, 'You idiots, what are you doing driving so fast and overtaking?' It's just stupid."

When she returned an hour later, police had blocked off the street and she knew instantly what had happened, she said.

Residents on the street said they heard a
Residents on the street said they heard a "boom, boom, boom". Photo / Dean Purcell

"I figured they had either killed themselves or someone else. I wasn't surprised.

"I just feel for their parents. I'm so sad this has happened, and was it worth it?"

After the crash, the Fire Service worked for half an hour to free a person trapped in the wreckage.

The two injured were taken by ambulance to Auckland City Hospital with moderate injuries.

The person who died at the scene is yet to be named.

Golf Warehouse employee Chase Hamlet said staff heard the crash from their store on nearby Newton Rd.

"There were a couple of claps, like 'boom', 'boom', 'boom', it sounded really serious," he said. "We went down to have a look and the car had severed a tree right in half."

Mr Hamlet said the car, an older Holden, was badly damaged, particularly on the passenger side. It had been heading up the hill towards Upper Queen St, but had crossed the centre line to hit the tree, he said.

"There was a lot of carnage. But emergency services were there straight away, they were really fast."

Ian McKinnon Drive was blocked while the Serious Crash Unit investigated but reopened tonight.