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Multiple Fatal Crash south of Te Karaka Township
The community of Whatatutu is in distress after one of their members was killed in a road crash on State Highway 2 just south of the Kaiteratahi Bridge, which is 30 Kms south of the Te Karaka township.
The crash occurred at about 9.15 pm on Saturday 20 October 2012.
The sole female occupant of an Odessa van was travelling to her parents address in Whatatutu from Gisborne after being the sober driver for the night for one of her friends. She is a 33 year old mother. Her vehicle collided head on with a Ford Explorer vehicle travelling towards Gisborne.
The Ford Explorer vehicle has caught fire and three of the occupants have died. The driver of this vehicle is a 59 year old man who is in a serious but stable condition in Gisborne Hospital.
Passersby attempted to assist the occupants of the burning vehicle but were unsuccessful in being able to release their seat belts before the fire took hold.
Police will need forensic examinations to establish the identity of the three passengers from the Ford Explorer vehicle. Police believe that they are related to the driver but he is in an induced coma and has not yet been spoken to.
The occupants of the Ford Explorer were from Putaruru and were travelling to Gisborne to visit family. They have a large and extended family in various parts of the North Island who are in a state of shock.
Police believe that the Ford Explorer vehicle has crossed the centre line and alcohol was a factor.