One person has died following a two-vehicle crash on Thornton Rd near Matatā in the Bay of Plenty.

A second person, a 78 year-old Waimana man, has been airlifted to Tauranga Hospital in a critical condition.

A police spokeswoman said officers received reports of the two-vehicle crash near Whakatāne at 9.23am.

The road will remain closed for the next few hours while police continue the scene examination.


Diversions are in place and motorists are asked to avoid the area.

Scene of the crash in Thornton. Photo / Katee Shanks
Scene of the crash in Thornton. Photo / Katee Shanks

A Rotorua Daily Post reporter at the scene said a helicopter had arrived and there was a significant emergency service presence.

The scene is on a corner between Smith and Walker Rd, she said.

Blair, a motorist who was one of the first on the scene, told the Rotorua Daily Post a driver of one of the vehicles was stuck and emergency service staff were trying to pull the door off.