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The wrecked vehicle of a man who died in a fiery crash this morning north of Taupō is unrecognisable after it was jammed beneath a truck.
Police have confirmed a driver, the sole occupant, was killed instantly when his vehicle was crushed by the truck before bursting into flames.
Emergency services were called to a car versus truck on State Highway 1 at Atiamuri, near the Bull Ring Cafe at 2.39am.
"Upon arrival at the scene the truck was on top of the vehicle with the driver trapped," police road safety manager for the Taupō area Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said.
He said the driver of the vehicle died at the scene.
"The truck driver - who was also a sole occupant - was able to escape from his vehicle and he has been taken through to the Tokoroa police station," Troy said.
Jillian Kerley, a nearby resident, told Stuff she heard a loud bang and moments later was confronted with a car that had crumpled beneath a truck hauling frozen goods through the night.
"The car just started burning and one look at that we realised there was nothing we could do for the occupants.
"It was wedged right under the truck so anyone in the car, we can only hope, died on impact," Kerley told Stuff.
She said there was nothing anyone could do with fire extinguishers, the blaze was too fierce.
Troy said police were making enquires with next of kin.
"We are making enquires and have been speaking with the family."
He said it had taken a bit of work to remove the truck from the vehicle.
The road was likely to remain closed until midday while cranes remove the charred wreckage.
The crash this morning pushed the country's road toll up to at least 324.