An ambulance was under lights and sirens en route to emergency work when it was involved in a collision with an ute towing a ship in Auckland yesterday. Photo / Hayden Woodward
The weekend getaway has turned into tragedy for the loved ones of the three who have died on New Zealand’s streets so far this Easter.
Nobody died on our streets last Easter, when the country was at level 4 lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19.
But with freedom coming back to risk death and injury behind the wheel, as the Kiwis travel across the country for a four-day weekend getaway.
The first person to die was the person who died in an accident involving a truck and a car just before 8pm on Thursday on State Highway 27 in Kaihere, in Hauraki.
Three other people suffered minor injuries, police said.
Eighty minutes later someone died in another accident on SH2 in Mangatāwhiri, north of Hamilton.
And today, someone died at the scene of a two-vehicle crash near Whakamaru, about 50 km north of Taupō, police said.
After the midday accident that occurred at the intersection of SH30 and SH32, one of the vehicles experienced a fire.
The person who died was the driver of one of the vehicles.
No one else was hurt.
An 80-year-old woman also died on Thursday after she was hit by a car on the outskirts of Forrest Hill on North Shore, dying from her injuries hours after the 8:20 a.m. incident.
That means his death is not included on the Easter toll because the official holiday period starts at 4 p.m. on Thursday and ends at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Other road users have escaped weekend getaway accidents with their lives, but are now recovering from their injuries.
Among them were three ambulance officers and a fourth person following the accident between the ambulance and the ute which was towing a ship off Auckland’s North Coast today.
An ambulance was on its way to the patient and was under lights and sirens at the time of the accident, said St John’s Area Manager Andrew Everiss.
It was left wedged in the air by the ute, which hit the driver’s side of the emergency vehicle.
Three ambulance officers were taken to North Shore Hospital with moderate and minor injuries, and people in the cabin sustained minor injuries, after the four of them were examined by an additional ambulance crew, Everiss said.
A second ambulance was also dispatched to the initial patient after the incident, which took place at Constellation Drive in Rosedale at 12:15 p.m.
Support was provided to those involved, and the organization is working closely with the police and has also launched its own investigation into the incident.
Five people were also injured, one in critical condition, following an accident involving two vehicles in Athenree Gorge, north of Tauranga, just before 11am today.
The seriously injured man was taken to the Thames Hospital by helicopter. The other four suffered only minor injuries.
In the hours leading up to the long weekend, police warned motorists going on vacation to “take it easy”.
“We urge motorists to be patient, and not take unnecessary risks.”