SH1 eight-vehicle crash
An eight-vehicle crash that injured 15 people and closed State Highway 1 north of Taupo¯ began as a nose-to-tail in traffic.
The crash took place near Wairakei, between Palmer Mill and O¯ ruanui roads.
A spokesperson said that while a full assessment was still being made, initial reports were that a truck crashed into the back of a vehicle, which then shunted a number of other vehicles forward on Saturday.
It was understood one of those shunted vehicles was pushed across the road into oncoming traffic.
The most severe injury was to a motorcyclist, who was flown to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.
Two others were also flown to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.
A total of 12 other patients were taken by road ambulances to hospitals in Tokoroa and Taupo¯ with moderate to minor injuries. The road was blocked in both directions. The collision involved cars, a motorbike, a van and a small truck possibly carrying fertiliser, Fire and Emergency Northern Communications shift manager Daniel Nicholson said.
At least two people were trapped, he said, and firefighters from Taupo¯ used cutting gear to free them. Extra firefighters were brought in from Rotorua.