Seven die in two crashes

Seven people are dead after two crashes south of Tokoroa.

Emergency services are at the scene of an accident on Whakamaru Rd where a vehicle is believed to have crashed over a bank, killing five people.

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Tokoroa Sergeant Terry Garnett said two men called in the Whakamaru Rd crash.

He said the men, who were in the area cutting down trees, came across the car, which was wrapped around a tree.

The five occupants, including three children and two adults, were dead.

Garnett said it appeared as the car could have been there longer than 24 hours. Emergency services remained at the scene. 

Vehicles had earlier been diverted to Whakamaru Road after State Highway 1 was closed following a double fatality just north of Atiamuri.

Northern Fire Communications shift manager Megan Ruru said the double fatality, between a car and truck, happened just after 1pm.

"Our information is that the accident happened 20 kilometres south of Tokoroa on State Highway 1," she said.

The accident had closed State Highway 1 with north-bound traffic being diverted at Ongaroto Rd through Whakamaru, and south-bound traffic being diverted at Maraetai Rd.

The road would remain closed while the serious crash unit investigated the cause. 

The Dominion Post