Three men were lucky to escape a serious road smash on State Highway 5 near Rotorua this morning with their lives.
The incident happened on a bend at the top of the Mamaku Range at 8.30am.
A black Holden Captiva was heading towards Rotorua at the time and police believe the driver crossed the centre line and collided with a commercial truck and trailer unit carrying sawdust and a ute.
Lone male drivers were in control of each vehicle. After the impact the truck driver veered left and drove up a bank before tumbling back toward the road.
The other two drivers had to be cut free from the wreckage that lay strewn across the highway. Both were taken to Rotorua Hospital.
Constable Jason Bailey of Tokoroa police said an investigation was underway to determine the exact circumstances of the crash.
SH5 was closed for nearly an hour before it was opened to one lane.
"They were very lucky," Bailey said.
"You can see the impact. There's no footwell left in the ute and it was the airbags that saved him probably."
- © Fairfax NZ News