Both drivers critical
Two men remain in a critical condition in hospital today following a head-on smash north of Kaikoura yesterday afternoon.
The crash, between a 4WD and a campervan, happened on a bend at Mangamaunu, on State Highway 1, about 4.15pm.
State Highway One was closed for about four hours while the drivers of both vehicles were cut from the wreckage, and the serious accident investigation team completed their work.
Kaikoura police said the 26-year-old man driving the 4WD was travelling from Queenstown to Hastings to see family. He was flown to Christchurch Hospital by Westpac Rescue Helicopter, in a serious condition.
St John spokesperson Ann Sutherland said the man had not regained consciousness before being airlifted to Christchurch, and had suffered a serious head injury and a fractured femur. A hospital spokesperson confirmed he remained in a critical condition in the intensive care unit this morning.
The man driving the campervan, 73, was flown by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Wellington Hospital in a serious condition and was said to be critical this morning.
Ms Sutherland said he suffered leg injuries after being trapped in the vehicle but remained conscious and was talking throughout the ordeal.
His wife, 68, who was a passenger in the campervan, was not hurt but was shaken by the accident.
The couple was from Paraparaumu.
Kaikoura volunteer fire brigade chief Ian Walker said it was unusual for both drivers to be trapped in their vehicles.
The brigade had to use jaws, spreaders and hydraulic rams to free both men.
The road was reopened to one way traffic once they were able to remove the campervan and the second vehicle was removed once the crash investigators completed their work, he said.
The cause of the crash is not yet known.
The Marlborough Express