15 in­jured after ma­jor pile up


An eight-ve­hi­cle crash that has in­jured 15 peo­ple and closed State High­way 1 north of Taupo¯ be­gan as a nose-to-tail in traf­fic.

Po­lice re­main at the scene 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.

A report from the scene is that 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.

Eight ve­hi­cles were in­volved, the spokesper­son said - not six, as early re­ports stated.

Tow trucks be­gan re­mov­ing dam­aged ve­hi­cles from the scene about 3.30pm.

Three am­bu­lances and three res­cue he­li­copters were called to the crash at 12.15pm, St John spokesman Gerard Camp­bell said, and three peo­ple were air­lifted from the scene.

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 brought in from Ro­torua.

Camp­bell said there were 15 pa­tients in total.

Lo­cal di­ver­sions were in place and the road was ex­pected to re­main shut un­til at least 4.30pm.

The Se­ri­ous Crash Unit and the Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Safety Team were in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

The col­li­sion took place about 1.5 kilo­me­tres north of Palmer Mill Road.

State High­way 1 has had a bad rep­u­ta­tion this year with ve­hi­cle crashes this year, a small num­ber of them in­volv­ing mo­tor­cy­clists. were

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