Driver trapped after trucks collide near Matamata
MATT BOWEN AND HARRY PEARL
A severely injured driver was trapped after two trucks, one carrying 61 gas cylinders, crashed head-on on State Highway 27 near Matamata this morning.
Ten fire engines from Hamilton, Tauranga, Greerton, Matamata and Tirau went to the scene. Gas cylinders on one of the trucks were believed to be contained and stable.
Emergency services had worked to free the trapped driver and road diversions were in place.
St John Northern Communications shift manager Norm Ngatai said both drivers were transported to Waikato Hospital, one with serious injuries, including a compound leg fracture, and the other with moderate injuries.
The driver who had been trapped was airlifted by the Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance after he was freed from the cabin of his truck.
''The patient with serious injuries was in the truck for some time,'' Ngatai said. ''He was stuck under the steering wheel and they had trouble extricating him.''
Police were asking the public to avoid the area, between Taihoa South Rd and the intersection with SH29 near Hinuera, as the road will be blocked for some time.
Fire Service communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said the Hamilton crew had "heavy rescue equipment".
Police district prevention manager, Inspector Rob Lindsay, said initial indications were that one truck, that had been following another, had pulled out when the front truck braked, and crashed head-on with a truck coming the other way.
The commercial vehicle investigation unit was investigating.