Three people were killed this morning when a vehicle left State Highway 35 just north of Te Araroa, hit a tree and rolled.
The victims were a woman and two children believed to be from the East Cape area.
Emergency services responded to the crash at about 5.45am. It happened near Tokata Road just past Karakatuwhero Bridge.
“The four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser vehicle had left the road and crashed into a tree,” a senior firefighter said.
“The three people in it had passed away when we arrived.”
The vehicle was on its roof on the side of the road when the first fire crew arrived.
Te Araroa and Tikitiki firefighters responded, along with police. St John Ambulance from Ruatoria was also called out.
St John Ambulance officers pronounced the victims dead at the scene.
The state highway was blocked immediately after the crash and remained closed to all traffic for some hours.
The police Serious Crash Unit from Gisborne was called to the scene to start an investigation.
“This was a single-vehicle crash,” a police spokesman said.
“We had the road open to one lane for a while but due to the number of ‘rubberneckers’ coming to have a look we had to shut it down completely.”
He indicated the Coast highway would remain closed possibly until mid-afternoon at the earliest.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency asked motorists to take extra care and expect delays at the crash site.
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