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Triple tragedy

Woman, two children killed in crash near Te Araroa.

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 got there.

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.”

The road reopened at 3.15pm.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency asked motorists to take extra care and expect delays at the crash site.

Meanwhile, there were two vehicle crashes in the Gisborne area over the weekend.

The first happened at around 9.30am on Saturday when a vehicle left Wharekopae Road near Patutahi Golf Club and hit a power pole.

“Power lines came down but fortunately no one in the vehicle suffered any injuries,” a senior firefighter said.

The incident cut power to 400 homes in the Patutahi and Muriwai areas.

“We had the power back on to most of them in about 30 minutes,” an Eastland Network spokesman said.

“It was off for about 13 customers until the pole was replaced later that day.”

The other crash happened at about midnight on Saturday.

“A car left Moana Road, State Highway 35, at Wainui and went into the dunes.

“Again, there were no injuries.”