Two people have died following a serious two-car crash near Ashburton, Canterbury, earlier this afternoon.
A small truck and car collided at the intersection of Withells Rd and Ealing Rd near the Rangitata bridge shortly before 1.40pm.
Members of the public reported seeing a vehicle weaving dangerously through State Highway 1 traffic just moments before a horror crash.
Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and the Serious Crash Unit were called to the scene and encountered a vehicle so badly mangled, "you couldn't even tell what kind of car it was."
Senior Sergeant Phil Dean of Ashburton Police said the Serious Crash Unit were working at the scene to determine the cause of the crash.
At the early stages, he said it appeared to be a head-on collision.
The two drivers were both the only occupants of their vehicles and both died at the scene.
The area was closed to all traffic, with diversions put in place at Delamaine Street, Hinds and at State Highway 79, Rangitata, with a large number of vehicles asked to turn around.
One witness at the scene said the car had flipped upside down upon colliding with the truck.
Another member of the public believed police had been alerted to the dangerous behaviour of the driver shortly before the incident occurred.
The crash appeared to have occurred in the northbound lane.
In October and November 2017, two crashes occurred near the same intersection, injuring a total of eight people.
Just last Friday a serious crash occurred slightly further south, at the intersection between State Highway 1 and Rangitata Island Road, leaving one person critically injured and three people with minor injuries.
Yesterday afternoon, Dean expected police would be spending "some time" piecing together what had happened. However, he said they were aware of the need to minimise the impact for other drivers slowed down by the diversions.
The crash takes the national road toll to 291 people in the year to date.
- Additional reporting by the Ashburton Guardian.