Two Malaysian tourists are dead and another is in hospital in a critical
condition after a driver failed to stop at a notorious South Waikato intersection and collided with a truck.
Shafiee Bin Ahmad, 51, and Mariyam Sakinah Binti Ahmad, 21, were killed
when the van they were travelling in went through a stop sign at the intersection of State Highways 1 and 5, about 2km south of Tirau.
Mr Bin Ahmad and the group he was driving had earlier been enjoying the
sights in Rotorua before they collided with the truck about 8.45pm on
It is unclear how fast either of the vehicles were travelling, but Senior Sergeant Murray Hamilton of Taupo police said the van, which was jammed into the side of the truck, was barely recognisable.
"The poor truck driver did as much as he could to avoid it but he couldn't get any further out of the way," said Mr Hamilton. "Fortunately for him he's okay."
Two male passengers suffered serious injuries and were flown by
helicopter to Waikato Hospital - one is now in a critical condition and in intensive care.
Two female passengers were taken by ambulance to Waikato Hospital.
Yesterday, the survivors were being comforted at the hospital by family members whom the Herald understands flew to New Zealand from Malaysia.
Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman Ashleigh Peek said a woman had since been discharged with minor injuries while a male and female passenger had been admitted to a ward.
Statistics from Land Transport New Zealand showing the number of fatal
accidents at the intersection were not available yesterday but Mr Hamilton said the intersection of the two roads was notorious in the region.
He said speed and inattention at the intersection, where static vehicles from SH5 move into a corner of a very fast-flowing SH1, were often
factors in accidents.
"There have been a few there. The previous one there was about two or
three months ago when a woman died and a young girl had to be taken to
hospital," said Mr Hamilton.
"And over the years we've had numerous trucks tip over there killing
Last year the Waikato region, which includes Taupo, had the highest
regional toad toll in the country with 90 deaths.
Before Wednesday night's fatal accident, the region had recorded 57
deaths for the year - its lowest figure in a decade.
From today, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Central Districts police will begin Operation Rose where they will combine forces using two four-seater planes to monitor traffic and motorists' behaviour.