The final death of the official holiday period – and the first in Northland of 2024 – was a baby boy who had only recently turned six months old.

The infant was one of four people in a ute that rolled on Waimā Valley Road, in South Hokianga, at about 6.20pm on Tuesday.

Serious Crash Unit investigator Jeff Cramp said the driver lost control on the gravel road about 500 metres from home, with the ute coming to rest on the driver’s side.

The three adults – the baby’s parents and one other person – suffered various injuries but managed to get out of the vehicle and walk to the nearest house with the badly injured infant.

They were then transported to Rāwene Hospital.

Cramp said he understood the baby was dead on arrival at hospital.

The investigation was ongoing. It was not yet clear what caused the crash or whether the occupants were restrained.

A baby car seat was found at the scene, outside the vehicle, but it was not known if it was in use at the time of the crash.

Cramp said the sad death was the fifth in Northland during the official holiday period, the nineteenth and last nationally of the holiday period, and the region’s first fatality of 2024.

Other road deaths in Northland during the holiday period included two cousins, aged four and six, from Perth and Auckland, who died when the utility terrain vehicle they were in careered off Fern Flat Road, near Pēria, into a deep waterhole.

rnz.co.nz

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