UPDATE: One dead after crash near Rotorua (+video)

By Matthew Martin

The scene of a fatal crash on State Highway 5 north of Rotorua. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
The scene of a fatal crash on State Highway 5 north of Rotorua. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

Today's fatal crash north of Rotorua has prompted emergency services to say it has been one of the worst holiday periods for crashes in a long time.

Two crashes occured yesterday leaving one person dead and 10 injured.

One person died and five others were injured in the first of yesterday's serious crashes around 11.45am on State Highway 5 at the start of the passing lane heading north past the Tupapakurua Bridge at Tarukenga. The crash involved three cars and one truck.

Video

An occupant of one car died at the scene while another person suffered serious injuries, one moderate injuries and three minor injuries.

Traffic heading into Rotorua was diverted onto Tarukenga Rd and traffic heading towards Hamilton was being diverted onto Dansey Rd and then Turakenga Rd back onto State Highway 5.

The road was closed for more than five hours while the serious crash unit surveyed the scene.

The Rotorua Daily Post witnessed the scene of devastation when police allowed a reporter and photographer to the site about 200m from the crash around three hours after initial reports came in.

One of the vehicles looked like it had been torn in half, while another had very serious damage on the drivers side. Wreakage was strewn across three lanes.

In the second crash, at the intersection of State Highway 30 and State Highway 33, just past the Rotorua Airport, another five people were injured around 2pm when two cars crashed head-on.

A 70-year-old was taken to hospital with minor facial injuries, and another four, including a child, also received minor injuries and were taken to hospital.

St John Lakes Area territorial manager Hilary MorrishAllen said it had been a bad few days on the roads with two people killed in three days and many more left injured.

She said an ambulance had just finished taking five patients to hospital from the State Highway 5 crash when they were called to the crash near the Whakatane turnoff.

"We just wish people would take more care."

She said it had been a bad few days on the region's roads, following on from the death of 68-year-old Taupo man Monty Broughton on Sunday night after a crash on State Highway 33 between Mourea and Okere Falls. Two women remain in Rotorua Hospital in a stable condition following the crash.

"This is probably the worst Christmas period we have seen in a long time. Please be careful out there," she said.

Bay of Plenty district road policing manager Inspector Brent Crowe said given the circumstances the State Highway 5 crash could have been a lot worse.

"There's a bit of a theme going around the Bay of Plenty at the moment. Apart from the perennial messages around speed and alcohol we are seeing a lot of fatigue and people being distracted while driving by their phones or texting and just not concentrating."

However, he said it was too early to say what had caused today's crashes.

- Additional reporting Pippa Brown and Rebecca Malcolm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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