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Two people have died and three are injured after a crash near Waihola in South Otago.
The deaths bring the Labour Weekend holiday road toll to four, after a woman was hit by a truck in central Hawke's Bay yesterday and a motorcyclist died after colliding with a car in Canterbury last night.
Police said emergency services were called to the crash on the Waihola highway (State Highway 1) just south of the township about 9.15am and later confirmed that two people had died.
A further three people were injured in the two-car crash - two seriously and one moderately, police said.
A St John spokeswoman earlier told ODT Online that ambulance staff treated three people.
Rescue helicopters flew two critically injured patients to Dunedin Hospital, she said, and a third person who had serious injuries had been transported to hospital in an ambulance.
Three rescue helicopters were sent to the scene, as well as five emergency vehicles including three ambulances.
Many people had stopped to offer assistance, he said.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand shift manager said four crews attended the crash.
The Serious Crash Unit had been advised.
However, the gravel roads were not suitable for heavy traffic including trucks, causing delays.
Police advised at 3.15pm that the highway was open again.
The Labour Weekend holiday period runs from 4pm on Friday until 6am on Tuesday.
- By ODT Online and Hamish MacLean