Bay of Plenty District Police are responding to two separate road crashes today which have claimed the lives of seven people.
Five people are confirmed dead following a crash on SH32 near Whakamaru, Bay of Plenty District, while a further two are dead following a crash between a truck and a car between Tokoroa and Taupo on SH1 today.
Emergency services were called to the double fatality about 1pm which occurred about two kilometres north of Atiamuri (SH30 Eastern intersection). The road is closed and diversions remain in place.
The crash involving five people was discovered as roading contractors were putting diversions in place around the double fatality crash on SH1. It is not clear when that crash may have occurred.
The two crashes occurred about 30km apart, but appear to be unrelated at this stage.
Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Dave Cliff, said the crashes were a devastating prelude to the Christmas Holiday period, which begins officially next week.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those who have died in these terrible and tragic circumstances. This is a devastating loss and a horrific start to the Christmas period, especially as we focus on trying to reduce the rising road toll and make our roads safer,” Assistant Commissioner Cliff said.
“While we don’t yet know all the circumstances leading up to these crashes, it’s a sobering reminder that we all need to do our part in staying safe on the roads.
“Police will also be out in force over the coming weeks both in the lead up to and during the Christmas / New Year break, with a highly visible Police presence that will be targeting the five key factors that cause road crashes, deaths and injuries – speed, alcohol, seatbelt wearing, driver distraction and fatigue.”