Three still in hospital after crash

Three of the four people injured in a serious crash near Palmerston North on Friday remain in hospital, one in a critical condition.

Gisborne residents Kathryn Dinah Matenga, 70, and Annie Tamanui, 69, died at the scene when the car they were travelling in hit a culvert on State Highway 56 at Longburn on Friday morning.

Four other passengers, thought to be from the same family, were taken to Palmerston North Hospital.

A hospital spokeswoman this afternoon said a 29-year-old woman remained in a critical condition in the intensive care unit. A 53 year-old-man and a 10-year-old boy were both in a stable condition on wards.

The three-year-old boy injured in the crash had been discharged from hospital.

Police were still investigating the crash, including the likelihood that passengers in the back of the station wagon were unrestrained.

Manawatu Senior Sergeant Ashley Gurney said they believed the vehicle had picked up a family member and was heading back to a property when the crash occurred.

A local kaumatua attended the crash scene on Friday and performed a blessing and karakia.

The crash happened at the entrance to the home of Matt Haitana and Harley King, who said they slept through the event, not hearing sirens or noticing any commotion.

Haitana said he didn't notice the debris of the crash when he left the house at 8am yesterday, and it wasn't until later that he found out what had happened. It came as a "bit of a shock", he said.

Police had examined the vehicle and were still seeking witnesses to the crash.

"We are working to determine what factors have led to the crash as well as the probability that the back-seat passengers may not have been restrained," Gurney said.

Police would like to speak to anyone driving on State Highway 56 at the time of the crash, as they may have seen something that will help police put together the vehicle's movements before the collision.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Senior Sergeant Gurney on (06) 351 3843. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Manawatu Standard