Six people are injured - two seriously - after a second horror crash in Canterbury today.

Two cars collided at Orari, north of Timaru, at 11.40am, police said.

The accident happened at the intersection of SH1 and Orari Station Rd.

Fire, police, rescue helicopters and ambulances were at the crash, and six people travelling in the vehicles had been injured.

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Police said at least two people were seriously injured.

St John Ambulance said four others have been taken to hospital in a moderate condition.

The patients were taken to Christchurch and Timaru Hospitals. The most seriously injured were flown by helicopter.

Those caught up in the road carnage say a rescue helicopter has arrived to take people to hospital.

Emergency services at the scene of the crash. Photo / Supplied via Bronwyn Kingsland
Emergency services at the scene of the crash. Photo / Supplied via Bronwyn Kingsland

The road was blocked for more than an hour. It is now under stop-go management and motorists travelling through the area are being warned to expect delays.

Long queues have now formed as holiday traffic has been forced to a standstill either side of the crash. SH1 was now closed between Rangitata and Timaru.

Holidaymaker Bronwyn Kingsland said they were due to turn off at the intersection where the crash happened when they came to a halt about 100m before the turnoff.

They waited in line for around 10 minutes with few cars travelling past them in the opposite direction.

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In the end they decided to manoeuvre their vehicle which was towing a boat and bypass the hold-up.

Kingsland said there were up to four ambulances and a fire crew tending to the crash victims.

It follows an earlier crash at Waimate that killed two people.

The two, believed to be the drivers of each vehicle, died at the scene at Glenavy, between Carrolls Rd and Stangers Rd shortly after 8.30am.

Glenavy Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Bevin Joyce told Fairfax that it appeared a northbound vehicle had crossed the centre line before the crash.

Kurt Brown, who lives about 500m from the crash, told Fairfax that he was having breakfast when he heard a "noisy car" go past.

"We followed the fire brigade about 500m to 1km up the road, and it was just around the corner."

There was "nothing left" of one of the cars involved, he told Fairfax.

The holiday road toll now stands at seven.

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