Two people dead in fiery crash on State Highway 3 in Taranaki, police confirm

Two people were killed in the fiery crash in Taranaki on Wednesday morning, it's been confirmed.

The crash happened just before 6am at the intersection of Mountain and Boylan Rds, on State Highway 3 in the small Taranaki town of Eltham.   

Police said the collision occurred after a vehicle crossed the centre line before catching fire. 

Two people dead in fiery crash on State Highway 3 in Taranaki, police confirm
Photo credit: Newshub

While it was initially unknown how many victims were involved in the crash, Snr Sgt Andrew Russ confirmed on Wednesday night the death toll remained at two.

"The disaster victim identification unit finished their assessment late this afternoon and found the drivers were the only people in the vehicles," he said.

"Our thoughts are with the victims families at this incredibly difficult time.

"State Highway 3 at Eltham has since reopened."

Russ earlier told Newshub the northbound vehicle crossed the centre line and collided head-on with the southbound car. The northbound car then caught fire and was "fully engulfed" by the time emergency services arrived at the scene, he said.

"These are the ones you never forget, they're horrible ones for all emergency services," Russ said of the crash.

He described the crash as an "absolute tragedy" and said his thoughts are with the families of the victims.  

"There are two families here who aren't going to get their loved ones home tonight, it's horrible for them."

Russ issued a reminder for drivers. 

"Don't drive when you are fatigued, take those breaks, don't speed, wear your seatbelts. All those things are the stuff that will keep you safe and get you home to your families," he said.

A serious crash unit investigation into the collision is ongoing.