Posted by Waikato Police on 28/03/2014
Waikato Police are advising against any unnecessary travel between Te Kuiti and New Plymouth after a rock fall that claimed the life of one elderly driver closed a major western North Island highway.
Senior Sergeant Pete Van De Wetering said tragedy struck on SH3, 12km south of Piopio, shortly before after 10.45am today.
"Two elderly sisters were travelling north from New Plymouth in a Toyota hatchback when their vehicle has been struck by a rock slide.
"The driver suffered minor injuries in the crash however her sister in the front passenger seat suffered fatal injuries in the crash."
Mr Van De Wetering said the road remains closed while emergency services await the arrival of roading engineers to access the situation and until such time as the engineers are satisfied the situation is safe, SH3 will remain closed.
"Diversions have been put in place at the northern end of Piopio and to the south, at the intersection of SH3 and Totoro Rd via Aria.
"Police are advising against all but essential travel and if you need to use these extensive diversions ensure you have sufficient fuel for the duration of your journey."
In expressing the condolences of NZ Police to the deceased's family, Mr Van De Wetering described today's incident as an unavoidable tragedy.
"There are a number of large public events being held in the Waikato at the moment meaning large traffic and pedestrian volumes in close proximity to each other.
"Roads to and from these events are congested and while there appears little the victims could have done to avoid this tragedy, Police are asking other drivers to do all they can to keep themselves safe on our roads."