Three people who died in a crash in Central Hawke's Bay have been identified.
Police confirmed they were 18-year-old Julianna Hickey of Matamau, 18-year-old Sharrisse Tuaiti Perawiti Taputerangituatea (also known as Sharrisse Perawiti) of Dannevirke, and 17-year-old Anahera Tienda Kaa of Dannevirke police said on Thursday.
The three young victims were in a car travelling on State Highway 2, near the small township of Takapau, when it collided with a truck last Thursday.
Emergency services responded to the scene, between Snee Rd and Byrne Rd, at 2.48pm.
Dannevirke High School principal Di Carter confirmed that one of the deceased was a current pupil, while the other two had recently left the school.
"Our school whānau are devastated with the loss of our students," she said.
The crash site is about a 13-minute drive from where they worked, at Silver Fern Farms about 17.9km away.
A spokesman confirmed those involved worked with the company.
"Silver Fern Farms is very saddened to confirm that employees were involved in the road accident near Takapau.
"Our thoughts are with their families and our team at Takapau."
A minute's silence for workmates
An employee said staff honoured their workmates with a minute's silence after being told of the tragedy.
He said they were on their way to work when they were involved in the crash.
The company is now looking to make sure the victims' families are being taken care of at this time.
"We are supporting them through this tragic incident."
Tararua mayor Tracey Collis said the crash was devastating.
"There has been a lot of devastation at the school and in the community right now.
"It's absolutely tragic for current and past pupils of many years and it is being felt deeply throughout the community, the teachers, the students and all the whānau.
"We want to express our heartfelt sympathies to the whānau and to the wider community.
"We've arraged support that will be available at the school for teachers, students and whanau in the coming weeks to grieve the loss."
The truck driver was airlifted to Hawke's Bay Hospital.
Police are now investigating the circumstances of the crash and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
Terrible year on Hawke's Bay roads
A total of 23 people have died on Hawke's Bay roads in 2020 – the highest death toll in the previous five years.
Of the 23 fatalities, nine have been drivers and seven were passengers.
The remaining seven are made up of four pedestrians and three motorcyclists.
Fifteen of the fatal crashes have occurred on state highways, four on open roads and four on urban roads.
A total of 14 men and nine women have been killed on the region's roads this year.
An investigation into the circumstances of the crash is ongoing.
A total of 296 people have died on the road nationwide.
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