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A witness has described how he could do nothing to save a man who died in a "terrifying" crash yesterday morning.
A car became airborne and slammed into a power pole on the outskirts of Havelock North at about 4.20am.
The sole occupant, a 19-year-old local man, died in the crash on Te Mata-Mangateretere Rd.
A nearby resident said he was woken by a "horrible, terrifying bang" before he phoned emergency services.
The man was only metres from the driver as he attempted to reach the wrecked car but live powerlines prevented him from leaving his front gate.
"There were live wires outside my house, so I couldn't get to the car. I was yelling out at the driver but sadly there was no answer."
Road Policing Sergeant Kevin Stewart said early investigations suggested speed had been a factor in the crash, and a post-mortem examination would determine if alcohol was also involved.
"It's a real tragedy because not only is it a loss of life, but it affects so many people's lives as well."
He said it appeared the driver had lost control on a bend before hitting an open drain, becoming airborne and slamming into a power pole.
When emergency crews arrived, the 19-year-old was already dead. The resident said that despite the Hastings District Council lowering the speed limit to 80km/h, the road would continue to be a danger zone for car crashes.
"It was not so long ago that we had a car lose control and take down the very next powerpole."
In March, the Hastings District Council changed speed limits on 31 roads and introduced a new Safe Speed Area that covers about 58km of the Hastings roading network in the Heretaunga Plains area.