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One dead after three-vehicle smash
Emergency workers took two hours to extract victims from a fatal three-vehicle crash on the Te Anau-Mossburn Highway in northern Southland yesterday afternoon.
One person died in the accident, which happened near Centre Hill about 3.30pm.
Inspector Lane Todd, of Invercargill, said eight people were travelling in three vehicles. Five people were taken to hospital with moderate to critical injuries.
One vehicle had four occupants, including a 56-year-old woman from China who died before emergency services arrived.
Other occupants included the driver, a 43-year-old man from China who was flown to Dunedin Hospital in a critical condition, a 58-year-old Invercargill man taken to Southland Hospital in a critical condition, and a 30-year-old woman with moderate injuries, also taken to Southland Hospital.
Another vehicle had two occupants, a 32-year-old Invercargill man who was in serious condition and a 29-year-old Invercargill woman who was in a moderate to serious condition when taken to Southland Hospital.
The occupants of the other vehicle, a 42-year-old man and 39-year-old woman, both from Dunedin, were uninjured.
Three helicopters were used to fly the victims to hospitals.
A Fire Service spokesman said at least 12 firefighters from Mossburn, Te Anau and Lumsden assisted ambulance and police staff in freeing patients from the vehicles.
Inspector Todd said it was too soon to tell what caused the crash and investigations were continuing, with the serious crash unit at the scene.
The road was to be closed until late last night.
Yesterday's fatality brings the national holiday road toll to four, after two children were killed earlier at the weekend.
A young child died as the result of an earlier crash near Tongariro National Park, becoming the second child killed on the roads this weekend.
The child was one of three in a single car crash at Owhango, between Taumarunui and the Tongariro National Park.
On Saturday, an 11-month-old girl was flown to Wellington Hospital after a crash on State Highway 1, near Paraparaumu, but later died from her injuries.
The official holiday road toll period started at 4pm Christmas Eve and finishes at 6am on January 3.
Invercargill police were called to Otatara, near Invercargill, about 6pm yesterday when a car collided with a cyclist. The cyclist received minor injuries.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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