Three of five children involved in a car crash on a country road between Matamata and Morrinsville are still fighting for their lives in hospital.
The crash happened shortly before midnight on Monday on Morrinsville-Walton Rd. The single vehicle crash happened after a Nissan Tiida veered off the road and flipped into a ditch.
Five youngsters aged between 10 and 13 were in the car. At least three were thrown from the vehicle in the impact.
All were helicoptered or taken by ambulance to Waikato Hospital. Two remain in a critical condition in that hospital, while a third, also in a critical condition, was transferred to Auckland’s Starship Hospital on Monday.
It is not known if anyone will be charged in relation to the crash, and how the children managed to be travelling about the Waikato region in the stolen Tiida also remains a mystery.
Police responded to Stuff requests for information with a short reply: “Inquiries into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing.”
On Tuesday, in response to earlier Stuff inquiries, police confirmed the Tiida had also apparently been used in a smash-and-grab burglary in a Vape shop in Matamata earlier on Monday evening.
Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said speed appeared to be a factor in the crash.
The police had no interactions with the Tiida prior to it crashing, he said.
Witnesses to the crash described it as a horrific scene.
“We heard the skids and then the bang – I really thought it had been a head on,” witness Katelyn Beale told Stuff.
“The car had flipped over a few times,” she said. “A little boy got out of the car while we were there. He was shouting, ‘Help me’.”
She estimated he was about 11 years old.
“He had what looked like a broken ankle and a big gash on his head.
“There was one kid who was stuck in the vehicle … he looked like he was in a really critical condition.”
The young boy who had crawled from the upturned vehicle was surprisingly lucid, she said.
“I asked him if he was okay. He told me he had only just met [the other occupants of the Tiida] that night, and he had just jumped into the car with them.”
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