Charity bikers among 7 dead, 14 hurt in crashes

Seven people are dead, including five motorcyclists, and more than 20 were taken to hospital during a horror weekend on the roads in the North Island.

The worst was two motorcyclists who died at the scene of a crash involving four motorbikes and a van near Normanby, Taranaki, shortly after noon.

It is understood the dead motorcyclists, named on Sunday as Kelly Richard Reardon, 40, of Waitara, and Gordon Thomas McKay, 68, of Bell Block, New Plymouth, were involved in the Round the Mountain Charity Toy Run.

Five other people remain in hospital following the horror crash, with injuries ranging from serious to minor. One was flown to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition, while the other four are in Taranaki Base Hospital - one serious, two comfortable and the other stable.

Among the injured is a person who is understood to have suffered a heart attack himself while giving CPR to one of the injured motorcyclists.

The toy run was organised by Bikers Rights Organisation New Zealand. In calling for participants of the ride, the group's website said: "You don't need to be a member of BRONZ to join the ride, although we'd love it if you were to take this opportunity to join, you just need a motorcycle, and the desire to help out a couple of organisations that work so hard for our less-privileged children, not only during the festive season, but throughout the year."

Thirty minutes after the Normanby crash, and about 500km away, emergency services responded to a serious crash at Te Hana, near Wellsford.

All seven occupants of the two cars involved in the crash were rushed to hospital in critical condition. The male driver of one of the cars had to be cut free from the wreckage of his vehicle.

A section of SH1 was closed for some time as emergency services worked to clear the scene.

Later, at 4pm, a man died after a three-car crash just north of the Prescott Rd/SH1 roundabout, Ruakaka, Northland. The man was driving one of the vehicles involved in the crash. Three other people were injured in the crash, including one who was rushed to hospital in critical condition.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a 21-year-old Bay of Plenty farmer died after the motorbike he was on collided with a car.

The incident happened on SH1, just west of Baird Rd, near Opotiki at 5am. Police said the two occupants of the car were not injured in the crash.

The fifth fatality occurred when a motorcyclist crashed into a house in Taumarunui at about 10pm on Saturday. A sixth person was killed when a car crashed into a shed on Awaiti Road, outside Paeroa just after 11pm.

Another person, and the fifth motorcyclist, was killed about 7pm on Sunday, when their motorcycle crashed on SH1 at Rangiriri, in Waikato. Another person was taken to Middlemore Hospital with minor injuries. No other vehicles were involved.

Just before 7pm, two men were seriously injured after the car they were in crashed into a wall in Wainuiomata.

Sunday Star Times