Drivers are being urged to take care on the roads after a fiery crash near Tokoroa killed two people on Tuesday.A Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman has this morning confirmed a third person, a man, remains in critical condition.
The man is in intensive care at Waikato Hospital, she said.
Earlier, a police spokeswoman confirmed two people had died in the three-car crash on State Highway 1, near Galaxy Rd, about 1pm on Tuesday and three others were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
A Tokoroa woman who works down near where the crash happened said it was not the first time there had been a crash on that stretch of road.
"We heard and saw all the emergency vehicles screaming past. It's awful to know people have lost their lives," she said.
"There have been numerous accidents on that stretch of road, its actually awful hearing sirens knowing that something terrible has happened. I'd totally encourage drivers to slow down, be aware of the road conditions and stay on their side of the road."
Fire Emergency NZ Lakes District assistant area manager Hamish Smith attended the scene and while he was not able to comment on the crash or how it may have happened, as police are still investigating the circumstances, he also urged drivers to take care.
"The incident involved two cars and a light commercial vehicle - the two cars were extensively damaged," he said.
"These types of incidents are never good. It's the winter months now and drivers need to remember the different conditions they can encounter out there. Stay alert and drive to survive.
"I don't know the circumstances of this crash but winter driving comes with a whole lot of additional risks and hazards so it's about bearing those in mind and ensuring when you set out in a vehicle you're in tip-top condition and focused on the role you are doing, which is driving a motor vehicle."
The crash, which happened between Main and Galaxy Rds, had blocked the SH1 for several hours.
The road was closed after the crash and diversions were in place. It reopened just before 7pm on Tuesday. Police were urging all motorists to exercise care and be aware of surface flooding.
Yesterday,police said inquiries into the cause of the crash were ongoing.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, a St John spokeswoman said St John was notified of the crash about 1.05 pm and three people were initially reported as being in a critical condition but one person's condition was downgraded to serious.
She said two people were taken to Waikato Hospital by road ambulance and a third person was flown to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition.
St John said five ambulances attended the crash scene as well as four helicopters, two from Hamilton, and one each from Tauranga and Taupō, she said.
Four managers and a rapid response unit also attended the crash, St John said.