An eyewitness says the Christchurch crash that left three teenagers dead after fleeing police in a stolen car fleeing was like "something out of a movie".
The stolen vehicle was running red lights and travelling at speeds of over 130km/h, but the police pursuit lasted for just over a minute before it was abandoned for safety reasons, Commander Superintendent John Price told media today.
The vehicle went on to hit spikes laid by police, then crashed into a tree and caught fire at about 11:15pm killing all three teenagers inside.
Alan Currie witnessed the terrifying crash unfold.
"There was one good explosion and then the car was fully engulfed. It didn't take long for the flames to engulf it," Mr Currie told 1 NEWS.
Another witness, Chrissy Green could hardly believe her eyes.
"It was really really burning, like something you'd see in the movies."
Commander Superintendent John Price told media today that any attempt to rescue those inside the vehicle was impossible.
"They [the two officers] attempted to rescue the driver and the passengers from the vehicle but sadly this was not possible due to the intense heat," Superintendent Price said.
Police had already called off the pursuit of the vehicle when it hit the spikes, he said.
An investigation into the incident has commenced and the Independent Police Conduct Authority will be notified, which is standard practice, Superintendent Price said.