The Rotorua Intermediate School community, New Zealand is mourning after a crash this week left one of its pupils dead and another in a serious condition.
Two Rotorua Intermediate School pupils were among the six in the car that crashed into a tree on Tirohanga Rd yesterday, killing five. The accident happened on Tirohanga Rd on Monday morning just before 7:40am 1st April 2019.
A spokesperson for Fire and Emergency said there is only one survivor, who was initially trapped in the car.
Police told media the five victims all belonged to the same family. Three victims were female and two male, while the sole survivor is an 11-year-old.
Police have yet to confirm the names of the three females and two males killed in the car crash on Monday morning.
Today Rotorua Intermediate principal Garry de Thierry told the Rotorua Daily Post one pupil, an 11-year-old boy was left in a serious condition and another pupil, his sister, had died.
He said his thoughts and support were with the whānau, and with the many students who had fond memories of the beautiful, and very capable student, who had so much to offer the world.
“To have this in our own kura is devastating. We had upset students this afternoon when the message got out there so we paid our respects as a school in an assembly this afternoon.
Pupils will get help to deal with the tragedy
“The whānau knows we are there to support them … Rotorua is quite interconnected to different whānau, so there are a lot of connections and a lot of tears.”
De Thierry said children at the school had all been informed and he stressed if pupils were having difficulty processing the tragic situation, there was help available through the school and the Ministry of Education.
The school community was invited to bring a koha for the family to the school office but details were still being finalised.
Broken branches and a small tribute with flower buds at the site of the crash replaced the scene which at 7.40am on Monday was chaos.
Family spokesman Taihakoa Maui today said the whānau no longer wanted to comment and was focusing on supporting each other.
A Tirohanga Rd resident 1km away from the crash site said although she didn’t know the family involved she couldn’t imagine the grief after “losing not one, but five.”
“It was so quiet when the road was closed and especially because it was just such a dull day, it’s just very sad.”
She said crashes often happened on the road but she was unsure why as it was reasonably straight.
Another resident who wished to remain anonymous lived around the corner from the scene on Tirohanga Rd and said in her four years of living there she had seen many crashes.
“This road is really straight so people think they can drive really fast, but it is quite narrow in some places.”
She wished someone would do something to make the road safer in the wake of this event.
Taupō mayor David Trewavas said following the accident yesterday he certainly didn’t want any more fatal crashes in the district.
Serious Crash Unit investigation
“If the findings from the Serious Crash Unit investigation are that our road is at fault then we will expedite any works accordingly.
“It is an absolute tragedy and I send my heartfelt sympathy to the family of the victims.”
An aunt to the three women taken in the crash has created a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of five tangis and for the immediate surviving members of the whānau.
“The family are devastated but we want to give our three girls a beautiful tangi.”
Yesterday road policing officer and Senior Sergeant Fane Troy told the Rotorua Daily Postat the scene on Monday some of the car’s occupants were not wearing seatbelts and “this has contributed to the deaths”.
He said the road conditions at the time were dry and it was too early to know what had caused the crash, however, the Serious Crash Unit was investigating.
While he wasn’t confirming speed was a factor his message was clear – drive to the conditions.
“This is a rural road which is common in New Zealand. They can be quite narrow and police encourage all drivers to drive to the conditions.
“Just because it is 100km/h does not mean it is a safe speed to drive at.”
Call or text Need to Talk (1737) any time for support from a trained counsellor:
Youthline – call 0800 376 633 | Free text 234
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Healthline – 0800 611 116
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Support available from Rotorua Intermediate
Trina Allen 02102440985
Amanda Kelly 0272794505
Matua Ben 0272348266
Garry de Thierry 021488589