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Emergency services were called to a single-vehicle crash in Washdyke, Timaru, on Saturday evening.
The crash occurred at the intersection of Seadown Road and Meadows Road shortly before 7.30pm.
A number of people were reported to have sadly died at the scene. Police initially did not reveal the total number during the early stages.
Stuff reported five people have died after an overloaded car smashed into a pole. There were insufficient seats and restraints in the car.
One person, a driver of the vehicle, was transported to Timaru hospital after sustaining serious injuries.
Speed was a likely factor in the crash but the Serious Crash Unit was advised for further investigation. Formal identification of the victims is ongoing.
“To have five lives lost in an instant is a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts are with their families,” Superintendent Steve Greally said.
“Particularly in a small community, the impact of a crash like this stretches far, and everyone in the area will be hurting.”
“Driving at excess speed for the conditions, and not being properly restrained, are two of the unsafe driving behaviours that we know contribute to death and injury on our roads, which is sadly what appears to have happened here.”
The road was closed for some time to have a scene examination.
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