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.

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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.