Fatal crash described as a bomb site

A horror head-on crash near Normanby which left two motorcyclists in a charity run dead and six hospitalised is being described as a bomb site.

The dead were Kelly Richard Reardon, 40, of Waitara and Gordon Thomas McKay, 68, of Bell Block, New Plymouth.

A 24-year-old van driver from Whanganui remains in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital while another man has been transferred to Middlemore Hospital.

Crash scene just North of Normanby.
Crash scene just North of Normanby.

Highway Patrol Sergeant Stephen Richardson was the first officer to arrive at the scene of the head-on crash, taking the role of incident controller.

''The northbound van collided with a group of motorcyclists travelling south.

''It was a horrendous sight,'' he said.

He was met with what he described as a ''mangled mess of damaged motorcycles'' while the front of the van was wrecked.

''It looked like a large bomb site.''

Firefighters assisted with the removal of the van driver who was ''severely trapped'', he said.

However the van was not overtaking as has been reported in some media, he said.

The complex crash scene was still under investigation, he said.

Both the CIB and Serious Crash Unit were involved in the inquiry.

Seven occupants in the northbound van and the riders of four motorcycles travelling south were caught up in the crash north of Normanby on State Highway 3 at midday.

A 62-year-old man who was assisting with CPR suffered a heart attack and was also transported to hospital.

Emergency services, including Hawera police, ambulances and the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter all assisted.

The road was blocked for more than five hours for the clean-up and investigation to be carried out.

The occupants of the van, all from Whanganui, were travelling, along with a following car, to the Ferndene skids due to begin at 1pm on Saturday afternoon.

''The cars weren't heavily modified,'' he said.

Mr Richardson praised members of the public who were already assisting the injured when he arrived and made a call for people be careful on the road.

''It comes down to simple road rules. Please be safe out there and take your time.''

Saturday's latest double fatality took the Taranaki road toll to 16 and followed another a road-crash north of Bell Block.

The driver of the van, a 24-year-old man from Whanganui, was flown to Waikato Hospital early this morning and remains in a critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit.

He was severely trapped in the van which was hit by a motorcycle.

A 42-year-old man has be transferred to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, a 62-year-old man is in a stable condition at Taranaki Base Hospital's intensive care unit and two other men, aged 27 and 22, are "comfortable in a ward," a hospital spokeswoman said.

A 21-year-old man has been discharged.

Taranaki St John Ambulance manager Ian May said emergency services were stretched by the large number of injured.

"It was a significant accident and posed a significant challenge for emergency services, and a tragedy all round," he said.

The remainder of the motorcyclists voted to continue the toy run in honour of the dead.

The toy run is held each year with toys donated to the Salvation Army to be distributed to the under-privileged children. 

Investigations by the Serious Crash Unit are continuing and Police would like to hear from anyone who took part in the ride who was not spoken to at the scene.

Those who have not yet given their details are asked to contact Police in Hawera on 06 278 0260.

Taranaki Daily News