A two-car crash in Thames that left three dead has been called catastrophic by the emergency crews who attended it.
Emergency services were called to the two-car crash near Thames about 8.30pm last night.
Three died in the crash including a married couple in their 60s from Turua, Ian and Anne Fielder, in one car and 20-year-old Haydn David Clark from Drury, in the other.
Police said he was driving a stolen car which appeared to have crossed the centre line before colliding with the oncoming car.
His passenger was his father, 54, who was flown to Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries.
An intensive care paramedic at Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust, Ross Aitken, said the crash was tragic for all involved.
"I'd describe the damage to both cars as catastrophic. It was obviously a very busy scene with ambulances, fire trucks and obviously the crashed cars themselves.
"They were extensively damaged - it was quite hard to tell what they were."
Thames-Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie said earlier it was believed the victims were local.
"We actually thought it was an armed offenders callout because there were so many police cars going in so many directions.
"So, it's heartbreaking to know how tragic the situation actually was."
Ms Goudie said the stretch of highway was good, and an investigation would determine what went wrong.