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Appeal for witnesses to Longburn crash

Appeal for witnesses to Longburn crash

Palmerston North Police are continuing to investigate a single vehicle crash that occurred at approximately 1:30am on State Highway 56, Longburn, today in which two women were killed.

A white Mitsubishi Chariot station wagon with six people inside had been travelling north on the highway when it has crossed the centreline and collided with a culvert near the intersection with Works Road.

Police believe a man aged 53 was driving the vehicle, a 70 year-old woman was seated in the front passenger seat, and two women aged 69 and 29, and a 10-year-old male were back seat passengers. At this stage police cannot confirm where a 3-year-old male was sitting at the time of the crash.

Police, Fire, and Ambulance attended however two of the women were pronounced dead at the scene. All occupants were transported to Palmerston North Hospital.

Police believe all six people in the vehicle are related.

Senior Sergeant Ashley Gurney, Manawatü Area Response Manager says: "We believe the vehicle was travelling back to an address after having picked up a family member when the crash occurred. This is a horrific tragedy for the families of the victims and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this dark time."

The two women who died have now been formally identified and their next of kin has been informed.

They were Kathryn Dinah Matenga, aged 70, of Gisborne, and Annie Tamanui, aged 69 also of Gisborne.

The driver and the 10-year-old are in a stable condition, the 29 year-old woman is in a serious condition, and the 3-year-old sustained minor injuries and is being monitored. All remain in hospital.

A local Kaumatua attended the crash scene earlier today and performed a blessing and karakia.

"We are working to determine what factors have led to the crash as well as the probability that the back seat passengers may not have been restrained. An examination of the vehicle is currently underway and we are still seeking witnesses to the crash.

"We want to speak to anyone that was driving down State Highway 56 around 1:30am as they may have seen something that could help us piece together the vehicle's movements on the road prior to the collision and I encourage them to contact police," says Senior Sergeant Gurney.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Senior Sergeant Gurney on (06) 351 3843. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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