LATEST: A male Asian tourist is dead and two other people are being taken to Waikato Hospital with serious injuries after a fiery two-car crash south-east of Te Kuiti just before 2pm today.
Te Kuiti Sub-Area Manager, Senior Sergeant Rob Van Kalken, said one car, containing an Asian couple, collided head-on with a second car containing one man . All three were aged in their late 40s/early 50s, he said.
The Asian couple's car caught fire on impact, killing the man and seriously injuring his female passenger. Their car was thought to be extinguished by passersby.
Firefighters from nearby Benneydale and Te Kuiti arrived at the 1.50pm crash, on SH30 near Mangaokewa Rd, to find the man dead.
Stormy weather has hampered any attempts by the Taupo-based Youthtown Rescue Helicopter to transport the injured by air to hospital. They were instead being taken by road.
Emergency services were still at the scene.
Mr Van Kalken advised against unnecessary travel and warned of long detours.
"With the highway closed those travelling to Benneydale face a sizeable detour with the alternate route being from Te Kuiti via SH3 to Eight Mile Junction, along SH4 to Pukerimu Rd to Kopaki Rd, through Kopaki village and on to SH30."
Mr Van Kalken also reminded motorists to drive to the conditions, especially as storms lash most parts of the country.
The Waikato Serious Crash Unit is on its way to the scene of the crash and the road is expected to be closed for several hours.
- Waikato Times