A policeman yesterday described the "horrendous" sight that confronted him at the scene of a crash between a van and a group of motorcyclists in Taranaki.
Two bikers taking part in a round-the-mountain toy run for charity were killed and six people injured in the crash north of Normanby on State Highway 3 on Saturday.
Highway patrolman Sergeant Stephen Richardson, the first officer at the scene, said the northbound van collided with a group of motorcyclists travelling south. "It was a horrendous sight" - a "mangled mess of damaged motorcycles" while the front of the van was wrecked.
"It looked like a large bomb site."
The dead bikers are Kelly Richard Reardon, 40, of Waitara, who was leading a group of riders, and Gordon Thomas McKay, 68, of Bell Block. The van driver, a 24-year-old man from Whanganui, is in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital.
The seven Whanganui people in the van were heading north to a speedway "skids" event near Inglewood.
Normanby Fibreglass Factory owner Paul Schrader was one of the first on the scene.
"It was just catastrophic," he said. "There were guys off their motorbikes all over the place."
He tried to get the van off one of the bikers with a forklift.
Witnesses who passed the van coming the other way said they were concerned about its erratic movements.
Five other people died on the roads at the weekend.
Early on Saturday, a 21-year-old Bay of Plenty farmer died after the motorbike he was on collided with a car. The incident happened on SH1 near Opotiki at 5am.
At 4pm on Saturday, a man died after a three-car crash north of the Prescott Rd/SH1 roundabout in Ruakaka, Northland.
The man was driving one of the vehicles involved in the crash.
A fourth motorcyclist was killed about 10.20pm on Saturday when he failed to take a bend in Taumarunui.
The sixth person to die crashed their car into a shed near Paeroa late on Saturday night.
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.
- Fairfax Media
How soon will you visit the new war memorial park?Related story: War memorial park all but completed