Waikato crash: Car in ditch, other caught fire

Waikato locals are being praised for their brave actions, which led to the rescue of two people caught up in a fiery crash. 

Four people were killed in the two-car smash on State Highway 2 in Netherton on Saturday night, between a full Toyota Corolla and a BMW that had one person in it.

It's believed the Toyota was filled with a group of French tourists and three of the five occupants were killed.

The Corolla careened into a ditch while the BMW went up in flames on the road, with the driver still inside.

Neighbours say they never heard the screech of brakes - just one loud bang. 

Kenny Growden's property backs onto State Highway 2, and right next to the crash site. He was one of a number of locals who jumped straight in to help, but says it was too dangerous to access the burning vehicle.

"It was on fire so I ran out there [and] just tried to help the first person get out," he told Newshub.

"[I] couldn't get into the car because it kept exploding and as it was exploding I got blown back a little bit towards the drain. And that's when we found the second white car."

He turned his attention to helping those trapped in the ditch. 

"I realised that there was people in there, started calling out to others to come help to try and get those ones out," Mr Growden said.

He said he did whatever he could to help get the five people inside the car out.

"I just jumped the fence and ran back home, grabbed a knife, got that over to them, and they just cut the seatbelts to get the first couple out," he said.

Mr Growden said he and a group of locals lifted two survivors out of the car and onto the grass by his property's fence. They then used a ladder to bridge the ditch and take the pair across to the road.

"One wasn't too bad; the other one was in a fair bit of, looked like he was going in a bit of a shock," Mr Growden said.

He believes those in the Toyota Corolla may have been a group of tourists visiting from France, saying one of them was speaking French.

He also made a point of refuting reports the crash victims were screaming, as he said he didn't want family mistakenly thinking their relatives died slow and painful deaths.

"The only screaming was really coming from me and the helpers for more helpers," Mr Growden said.

The scene may be clear now but the remnants of Saturday night's crash still remain.

Car debris was strewn across this stretch of State Highway 2 and a white panel belonging to one of the cars rested in the ditch. 

Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga has praised locals for helping out and would like the stretch of road looked at.

"I'd just be advocating for some further safety works and it could be as simple as putting solid yellow lines down the middle of the road where it's not suitable to pass," he said.

Police say it's still too early to know what caused the crash, but visibility was poor with heavy fog.

The two crash survivors remained in Waikato Hospital in a serious but stable condition. 

The serious crash unit was investigating, and police were still contacting next-of-kin.

Elsewhere, on Friday night a pedestrian was killed when they were struck in Gisborne, and on Saturday morning two boys died in a crash at Dairy Flat in northern Auckland.

A woman died in a crash north of Kaitaia at around midday on Saturday.