One person is dead, and three are injured after a serious head-on collision in Clareville yesterday.
Emergency services, including two rescue helicopters, responded to the fatal crash on State Highway 2 at 4.10pm.
Police confirmed last night that one person had died en route to the hospital.
A second person suffering serious injuries was taken to Wellington Hospital, while two people with moderate injuries were transported to Masterton Hospital.
Police said the stretch of highway between Somerset and Chester roads would remain closed for several more hours while the Serious Crash Unit investigated.
Nearby residents said a large bang and Carterton Fire Brigade’s siren alerted them to the crash, with multiple people rushing to the mangled cars to help.
One man said it appeared a vehicle heading south had crossed the centre line and ploughed into a car travelling in the opposite direction.
He said he found two people trapped in a vehicle that had been catapulted into a paddock.
The car’s frontage was crushed, he said, and the driver was in obvious agony.
“I tried to relieve the pressure but couldn’t.”
The man said first responders were on the scene within minutes.
Fire and Emergency confirmed firefighters used the jaws-of-life to extricate two people trapped after the crash.
At 5.45pm emergency personnel stretchered a patient to the Life Flight helicopter, which had landed in a nearby paddock.
Within minutes of its departure, a second helicopter arrived on the scene.
The Clareville crash was the second fatal crash on the nation’s roads yesterday, taking the Waitangi weekend death toll to five.
Police reported one motorcyclist died after a single-vehicle crash on SH50 in Central Hawke’s Bay yesterday, and since Friday three people had died in the Manawatu region, including two in Dannevirke.
The Clareville crash happened on a straight section of SH2 where the speed limit had recently been lowered to 80kmh, in line with Waka Kotahi NZTA’s Road to Zero strategy.