The chief of the first fire crew to arrive at yesterday's horror crash north of Taupō has called on drivers to take a deep breath.
While it is up to the police to investigate serious road crashes, Chief Fire Officer Dave Morris, of the Tokoroa Volunteer Fire Brigade, speaking generally, said motorists needed to exercise more care.
"People need to be patient and drive to the conditions."
Ambulance officers and police were at the crash site on State Highway 1 near Ohakuri Rd when the Tokoroa fire crew arrived. Eight people were killed by the head-on crash between two vehicles. The only survivor was a 9-year-old boy who suffered critical injuries.
Morris did not attend the crash as he was away at the time but has discussed it with his firefighters who were there.
"When they arrived it was carnage," he said.
They assisted with road protection and with the survivor.
Morris said he believed all emergency services workers who faced the death and injuries caused by serious crashes were affected.
"I think everybody does get a bit emotional in their own way … you deal with it in your own way."
"We have an initial debrief at the scene and the guys have a debrief at the station - we have a talk about it."
"I was out of town [yesterday]. I personally contacted everybody straight away and in the evening. Fire and Emergency New Zealand have a great system of counsellors or peer support … Our members can make contact with them confidentially."
A former police officer, Morris said the stretch of highway where yesterday's crash happened was not particularly dangerous.
"At this time of year you've got the end of the holidays, roads are busy, wet."
"Over that couple of hours there were thousands of vehicles on that road and only one crash. It's not the roads that kill.
"There have been a lot of crashes north and south of Tokoroa. People themselves have got to take a bit more care."
The Tokoroa brigade had attended terrible crashes and yesterday's was among the worst.
They were at the Tirohanga Rd crash on April 1 in which five people were killed when the car they were in hit a tree. The site of that tragedy is about 15km southwest of yesterday's.
Morris also recalled a crash around 1990 in which six people in one car died when it went off State Highway 1 and hit Hatupatu rock, a wāhi tapu just south of Tokoroa.