Three people killed, child seriously injured after ute crashes into tree in Northland

Three people have died and a child is in "serious but stable" condition after a ute crashed into a tree in Northland overnight.

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Three people were killed and a child was left in critical condition after the early morning crash. Source: 1 NEWS

Emergency services, including a helicopter, were called to the scene on Whananaki North Road, near Whangārei, at around 2.13am, a Fire and Emergency spokesperson told 1 NEWS.

It's believed the vehicle veered off the side of the road before hitting a tree, Whangārei police sergeant Craig Burrows told 1 NEWS.

Emergency services were called after a neighbour had heard the noise and went to investigate, he said.

The child has since been airlifted to Whangārei Hospital, where their condition improved from critical to "serious but stable", a Northland District Health Board spokesperson told 1 NEWS. 

A fifth occupant in the vehicle received minor injuries in the crash and has since returned to their family, police said in a statement.

All five occupants of the vehicle are believed to belong to a single family in the area.

"I imagine the family currently are going through a tragic moment," Mr Burrows said. "When we spoke to some of them, they were very distraught."

There was light drizzle on the road at the time of the incident, but it was believed to be "reasonably dry" when the crash occurred, Mr Burrows said. The road was described as winding but "reasonably safe" when driven to the conditions.

Fire services helped extract the occupants from the vehicle. 

The road was closed overnight while police conducted a scene examination, but has since reopened. 

An investigation is underway to establish the circumstances around the incident.

It's currently too early in the investigation to establish whether alcohol played a factor in the crash, Mr Burrows said.