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'A blessing': Mayor praises police officers' actions in rescuing two from burning car

Auckland, New Zealand - December 24, 2020: Close up of a New Zealand police officer's uniform and badge
Photo: 123RF

The actions of police who dragged two people from a car that was on fire are another example of the selfless acts of emergency responders, Hamilton's mayor says.

Two people died when a car collided with a truck as it pulled into a supermarket in the suburb of Whitiora early on Sunday morning.

Two more people were taken to hospital in a critical condition, and three police officers were treated for smoke inhalation after they pulled the survivors from the wreckage.

Mayor Paula Southgate told Morning Report police were yet to confirm details but eyewitnesses on social media have indicated young people were the victims.

She said Hamiltonians' hearts went out to the victims.

"It was a particularly nasty crash... I'm not going to speculate on what happened but it was a severe impact and we're grateful that anyone walked away from that alive."

It was not only the victims and their families who were affected by such a tragic accident, she said.

She also expressed her support for the truck driver and the emergency services who were on the scene very quickly.

"Nobody wants to be put in that situation ... of being involved in loss of life. It's very traumatic."

It was "a blessing" police had acted so fast to rescue the two survivors and pull them from the burning car. Another few minutes and that might not have been possible, she said.

"Every single day of the week emergency services put their lives at risk and quite often we forget that.

"We forget to stop and think: We're very grateful for you being here and choosing to do a job that saves ours."

Southgate said the supermarket is near a major intersection and is normally busy.

However, the accident occurred just before 4am so she would have expected it to be a lot quieter.

She said people needed to be extra vigilant driving near heavy vehicles delivering goods.

It was the region's second fatal crash involving a truck in three days.

One person was killed and three injured on 6 July when a truck and two other vehicles collided on State Highway 39, south of Hamilton city.