Two hurt when 'aquaplaning' car crashes

MATT BOWEN AND ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013
Matarangi Beach crash
Supplied

Mangled metal: The four-wheel-drive that rolled five times on Matarangi Beach.

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Matarangi residents are shocked by the "irresponsible behaviour" of a motorist that left two people in a serious condition in Auckland Hospital.

The pair, a woman aged 19 and a man aged 20, were in a Toyota four-wheel- drive that was reportedly seen aqua-planing, doing donuts and figure eights on Matarangi Beach just moments before their car rolled five times, throwing two of the four occupants from the vehicle on Saturday.

They were flown by the Auckland Westpac rescue helicopter to Auckland Hospital with multiple injuries ranging from moderate to serious.

Michelle Dobson, owner of The Matarangi Beach paper, said it was a miracle they were not killed.

"And even more concerning is that they could have killed innocent people on the beach - it's has been a busy weekend here and where the crash happened was right near a public access point to the beach," she said.

Chief fire officer Stuart Arnold, of the Matarangi volunteer fire brigade, said the call came in about 11pm, triggering a lengthy rescue.

"It did a fair bit of damage," he said. "There were four young people in the car - two young ladies and fellas in their late teens, early 20s."

It is understood the four people involved were visiting the area. Mr Arnold said one female suffered chest, leg and back injuries and a male had neck injuries and back pain.

The vehicle was extensively damaged and had to be dragged along the beach on its roof because of damage to the wheels.

"We had to tow the vehicle from the Ocean Close area of Matarangi Beach to the cove, a good two kilometres, so the tow truck could retrieve it."

"We couldn't right it and tow it because none of the wheels were functioning. They had been rolled and bent."

The accident happened just above the hotwater mark on clear flat sand and Mr Arnold said be believed the vehicle was aquaplaning before it rolled.

"Who knows what they were doing. Apparently some witnesses said they were doing donuts or figure eights . . . in the process they rolled the car and I believe it rolled up to five times. It did a fair bit of damage."

In a separate incident, police say a person was thrown from a car that crashed on State Highway 27 near Waitoa on Sunday morning.

Four people were taken to hospital, two with serious injuries, after the vehicle they were travelling in crashed, taking down power lines and forcing police to close one lane to traffic.

On Saturday afternoon, the Westpac Waikato air ambulance was called out to 8-Mile Junction, at the intersection of Highways 3 and 40, south of Te Kuiti, to attend to a 35-year-old female tourist from Hong Kong who was involved in a crash between a car and a motorbike.

The woman and her husband were riding separate motorbikes when she was hit. It is believed she turned out of SH40 on to SH3, pulling in front of the car. She was flown to Waikato Hospital with a badly broken leg.

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- Waikato Times

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