Wedding party rush to fatal crash scene
A groom and his wedding party rushed to the scene of a fatal head-on crash, dragging a child from a mangled car in Bay of Plenty.
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Josiah Mears was a groomsman and was helping set up for a wedding at Charlemagne Lodge in Te Puna about 12.30pm on Saturday when they heard "a loud bang and what sounded like a gun shot" on State Highway 2 outside.
They realised it was an accident and the groom, Jordan Mountfort, and others in the wedding party rushed to the scene, where they found a smashed van and and car.
The groom's brother, Phillip Mountfort, pulled a young girl from the car but a young boy could not be removed from the back seat.
Meanwhile, his brother - the groom, who is also a mechanic - realised the car was still running and, with petrol around, feared an explosion so disconnected the car battery.
The groom's father, who coordinated the rescue effort until rescue crews arrived, realised the mother had died from what appeared to be a broken neck and prayed for her, Mears said.
Phillip Mountfort was full of praise for his brother, who dashed from his own wedding to help at the scene.
"He could have been setting up for his own wedding. He just took off down the hill."
Jordan Mountfort managed to return to the wedding and was married in a suit that bore remarkably little damage from the ordeal he had just been through.
Police said the accident happened when a southbound vehicle crossed the centre line near Loop Rd into the path of a northbound vehicle.
The 26-year-old female driver of the southbound vehicle died at the scene.
Her children, aged three and four, were flown to Auckland's Starship hospital with serious injuries.
The occupants of the second vehicle were taken to Tauranga hospital.