An elderly man had to be pried from his car and taken to Palmerston North Hospital in critical condition after a two car head on collision that has closed a section of State Highway 56.
Three people are in hospital following the crash yesterday, two with minor injuries, police at the scene said.
Highway patrol sergeant Chris Fraser said the man, who police have not yet been able to identify, was in a car travelling south over Opiki bridge, near Palmerston North, when it was involved in a head-on collision with a ute heading in the other direction.
"His car has crossed the centre line just going into the bridge and collided with a ute coming the other way."
The accident happened about 3.20pm.
The elderly driver was taken to hospital by the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in a serious condition after fire service personnel extracted him using the jaws of life.
St John ambulance operations manager Steve Yanko said the man was "severely trapped" and it took emergency services half an hour to pry him from the wreckage of the car that was flipped into its roof.
Emergency services blocked off State Highway 56 at the Opiki bridge after the crash.
One car could be seen on its roof at the entrance to the bridge.
Police, the Serious Crash Unit and the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter were at the scene, along with three fire engines and an ambulance.
The road was expected was blocked off for some time, with a detour in place through Alve Road.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is parking in central Palmerston North getting easier?