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North Island crashes claim seven lives

Published: 5:43AM Friday March 30, 2012 Source: ONE News

One person has died and another is in a critical condition following an accident on State Highway One, between Tawa and Churton Park.

Ambulance staff say one other person is in a serious condition.

The crash reduced the main highway down to one lane.

Earlier two people died in an accident between two vehicles near Palmerston North.

The crash occurred when a silver Holden collided with a white Toyota at about 2.45 pm at the intersection of State Highway 56 and Karere Road.

An elderly woman died at the scene while a woman, two children and an elderly man were taken to Palmerston North Hospital.

The elderly man later died.

Fiery crash

Two other crashes near Tauranga and Taupo claimed four lives.

The crash followed two crashes near Tauranga and Taupo which claimed four lives.

A Rangitaiki publican emptied a fire extinguisher as he fought to douse a burning car which crashed early this morning.

Two men died and three others were injured when a car rolled on State Highway 5 near Taupo, throwing out the five occupants at about 2.30 am.

Wi Hurinui, 52, from Havelock North and Paul Ngaroimata Kenrick, 57, from Hastings died.

Rangitaiki Tavern publican Duncan Klaus said he was woken by a tanker driver who said the crash had occurred 300 metres west of the tavern.

"I was asleep in bed and didn't hear anything until the tanker driver woke me to ring 111," Klaus said today.

He grabbed a fire extinguisher and rushed to the burning vehicle.
One of the five occupants was lying on the side, another occupant was beside the vehicle, he said.

"I could see two people on the ground, both were not moving.

"The other survivors were delirious."

Klaus doused the flames with the extinguisher until he ran out of fire retardant.

"I went back to the house to get another canister when the car started firing up again."

Fire and St John ambulance emergency crews arrived soon after to attend to the injured men.

All five men are believed to be from Hastings and aged in their 30s and 40s.

The accident is being investigated by the Serious Crash Unit.

In a separate crash last night, a single vehicle travelling south along McLarens Falls Road, near Tauranga, came over a slight rise, crossed the centre line and crashed into a tree in Omanawa.

The impact caused the vehicle to split in two.

The two occupants died after they were thrown from the vehicle upon impact.

Police said a 43-year-old male died at the scene, while the other occupant, 42, died in Tauranga Hospital a short time later.

Speed is known to be a factor in the crash.

- with Fairfax