Two drivers killed in crashes

Two people have died and five injured in a series of crashes across the country today.

A 66-year-old man was killed when the car he was driving crashed head-on with another car on State Highway 5 between Taupo and Rotorua this morning.

The smash, which took place at 7.40am just north of Tutukau Rd, at Waimahana, trapped the 36-year-old male driver of the second car inside his vehicle. He was later taken to Waikato Hospital by helicopter with serious injuries.

Barely two hours later, a man died in a one-vehicle crash in Northland, inland from Taipa, east of Kaitaia.

He died at the scene shortly after the crash, which happened around 9am.

Elsewhere, three people were injured when a car crashed into a power pole at 6.30am, causing a fire which spread to a nearby home and knocked off power to the road.

A car carrying three people crashed on State Highway 1 in Winchester, between Temuka and Geraldine, in Canterbury.

The fire quickly spread to a neighbouring home, causing significant damage.

All occupants of the house, believed to be a young family, managed to escape the fire unharmed.

The three people in the vehicle were treated by ambulance. Details of their injuries were unknown.

Meanwhile, a person was trapped in a car following a collision with a horse truck on SH5 Napier-Taupo Rd, near the intersection of Ellis Wallace Rd, around 12.30pm.

No other injuries were reported, police said. The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter was sent to the scene.

The highway has not been closed, but motorists have been warned to expect delays.

Equestrian fans travelling from the Horse of the Year in Hawkes Bay have been warned to be extra careful on the roads following the crash, particularly those with horse vehicles.

Around 70,000 people were expected to attend the annual show in Hastings, and SH2 and SH5 north and south of Hawkes Bay are likely to be congested as fans and competitors leave this afternoon, police said.

- Patrice Dougan of APNZ

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