UPDATE: Fatal Ōhaupō Crash

To be attributed to Inspector Jeff Penno, Waikato Road Policing Manager:

State Highway 3 reopened overnight following a crash near Ōhaupō that claimed five lives.

As confirmed yesterday, the three occupants of one vehicle, and the two occupants of a second vehicle, all died at the scene.

The Serious Crash Unit conducted a meticulous scene examination last night and the findings from that examination and forensic evidence obtained will feed into a crash investigation, which is likely to take several months.

Following the scene examination, we are now moving on to the next stage, which includes examining the vehicles involved to tell us more about what occurred.

While the crash investigation is ongoing, Police are limited in what we can say about the circumstances of the crash, and that will be for the Coroner to determine in due course.

We can confirm that one of the cars crossed the centre line, colliding with the other car.

I would like to acknowledge the emergency services personnel who responded to this terrible crash, as well as the members of the public who were first on the scene.

This incident is incredibly hard for our people, and some of those who attended last night were young staff.

This was a very confronting scene, even for our experienced emergency services staff. Responding to these types of incidents is something that never gets easier, no matter how long you’ve been in the job.

But this of course does not compare to the hurt and pain that the families and friends of these victims are now dealing with.

During all stages of the investigation, we will be balancing the public interest while respecting those who have died and knowing their loved ones are hurting.

Formal identification of the five people killed in the crash is ongoing and may take some time. Details regarding the deceased will be released only once that formal identification has taken place.

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.