Two killed, four injured in Te Kuiti crash
Two people died and four more were injured after a two-car crash outside the New World supermarket in Te Kuiti.
Emergency services were called to the accident on Te Kumi Rd on SH3 about 2.12pm and personnel were on the scene seven minutes later, St John spokesman Mark Tregoweth said.
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Te Kuiti Chief Fire Officer Phil New said a small Mazda and a Jeep were involved in the accident.
Two people travelling in the northbound car, understood to be the Mazda, died at the scene.
The two people travelling in the back seat of the car were seriously injured and were transported to Waikato Hospital.
Two people travelling in the southbound car were moderately injured and were also taken to hospital.
A Waikato Hospital spokeswoman said on Saturday night two patients remained in a stable condition and the other two were in a critical condition.
Three rescue helicopters were called to the scene - from Hamilton, Rotorua and Taupo.
A person who was one of the first to arrive on the scene said a four-year-old boy was in one of the cars, but he did not appear to be injured.
Police said the crash happened about 250m north of the 70km/h posted speed area.
The road was closed about 300m north of the town was closed.
Firefighters helped get one person out of a vehicle and then moved on to help with traffic control, Fire Northern Communications shift manager Scott Osmond said.
The crash happened right outside the New World, he said.
New World duty manager Maria Were said customers started coming into the store saying there had been a nasty crash outside.
"We came outside and saw three or four helicopters come over. One of the cars is in the paddock and the other one is on the road near where the helicopter is parked."
She said it appeared to have been a head-on crash and she picked speed was to blame.
"They must have been travelling pretty fast. It's 100km/h as you come in and then not far from our drive it's 70km/h, people realise 'oh gee you've got to slow down here'."
The crash is the second fatal in the area after a triple fatal which killed three young people in January.
A resident who lives nearby said she saw three rescue helicopters land on the road, as well as emergency services driving past.
Another passerby said he drove past the scene of the accident but did not see anything.
A large portion of the road has been blocked off and emergency services are still at the scene.
Senior Sergeant Mike Underwood said a car which was following directly behind the northbound car would have witnessed the crash.
He said that any witnesses are urged to contact police on 07 859 7807.