Live power lines and a large number of agitated bees are
posing problems for motorists and emergency services
following a fatal crash in Waikato this morning.
Police have warned those travelling between Tauranga and
Hamilton to expect delays as emergency services work to clear
The man who died was driving a ute carrying beehives which
overturned when it smashed into power pole on State Highway
29 near Matamata.
Acting senior sergeant Dale Smith of Waikato Police said the
crash occurred about 1.45am, and was first noticed by a truck
driver who realised the ute had disappeared from the road
"The driver of the truck and trailer unit noticed a large
utility pull in behind him from a lay-by and follow him over
the Kaimais, the vehicle then continued to tail him through
Te Poi when he noticed a bright flash in his rear view
"Turning his truck and trailer unit around, the driver found
a severely damaged utility upside down with a power pole
fallen on top of it," Mr Smith said.
"To compound issues, not only were there live power lines
posing a risk, the utility had been carrying a load of
beehives and the inhabitants of these hives were
Emergency services staff worked with power company employees
to make the scene safe enough for emergency services to treat
the driver, however he could not be saved, Mr Smith said.
The driver was the only person involved in the crash.
"State Highway 29 is expected to be closed for several hours
as work goes on to recover the driver's body and remove the
vehicle and smashed power pole," he said.
"An off duty police officer, who is also a beekeeper, has
been bought in to assist with the recovery of the hives with
several of the attending emergency service personnel having
experienced several stings."
Drivers travelling between Tauranga and Hamilton should
expect delays, Mr Smith said.
Diversions are in place to the west of Te Poi, via
Rangitunuku Rd and west of the village via State Highway
This morning's fatality brings the Waikato road toll to 20
compared to 43 at the same point last year.
- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ