Fatal crash: Bees and live power lines at scene

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FILE
FILE

Emergency services attending a fatal crash at Te Poi had to deal with live power lines and thousands of bees.

A man died in the crash on State Highway 29 about 1km west of Te Poi.

Police said his utility hit a power pole and overturned in the incident at 1.45am today.

Diversions were in place at the intersections of SH29 and Te Poi township and SH29 and Rangitanuku Road.

Motorists travelling between Tauranga and Hamilton this morning are being told to expect delays.

Waikato Police District Shift Manager, Acting Senior Sergeant Dale Smith, said a sharp eyed truck driver was being credited for raising the alarm about the early morning crash.

"The driver of the truck and trailer unit noticed a large utility pull in behind him from a lay-by and follow him over the Kaimais, the vehicle then continued to tail him through Te Poi when he noticed a bright flash in his rear view mirror.

"Turning his truck and trailer unit around, the driver found a severely damaged utility upside down with a power pole fallen on top of it. To compound issues further, not only were there live power lines posing a risk, the utility had been carrying a load of beehives and the inhabitants of these hives were understandably agitated."

Mr Smith said fire, police and ambulance staff were joined by power company employees who made the scene safe enough for emergency services to attend the sole occupant of the utility but he was unable to be saved.

"SH29 is expected to be closed for several hours as work goes on to recover the driver's body and remove the vehicle and smashed power pole.

"An off duty police officer, who is also a bee keeper, has been bought in to assist with the recovery of the hives with several of the attending emergency service personnel having experienced several stings."

Mr Smith said drivers travelling between Tauranga and Hamilton could expect delays with diversions having been established west of Te Poi via Rangitunuku Rd and west of the village via SH24/ Tauranga Rd.

This morning's fatality brings the Waikato road toll to 20 compared to 43 for the same period last year.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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