Trapped woman freed after four vehicle crash in Karangahake Gorge
A young woman was left trapped in a crashed car with one wheel hanging over the safety barrier of the Karangahake Gorge.
Those who helped to cut her free of the vehicle following the smash on Sunday afternoon say she came close to going over the edge of the highway that plunges into a river below.
It appeared she had been heading north towards Paeroa on State Highway 2 around 1pm when she was embroiled in a four car smash near the middle of the gorge between Paeroa and Waihi.
"One car lost traction in the rain due to the weather conditions and involved three other cars," Waihi Fire Chief Moe Stevens said.
"It was like a T-bone crash."
The impact of the crash shunted the woman's car up onto the safety rail alongside of the northbound lane.
"The vehicle the woman was trapped in was hung up on the safety rails - one wheel was holding the car up on the rail. She was reasonably close [to going over the edge]."
Stevens said it took volunteer firefighters five to 10 minutes to cut the woman free from the crashed car.
"The other vehicles were in close proximity but in no danger of going over the edge."
Waikato police Senior Sergeant Mike Henwood said the woman was flown to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.
A statement from the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter said the woman suffered serious internal injuries.
Henwood said four vehicles were involved in the collision. Police were still making inquiries into what occurred.
There were a few others who suffered minor injuries, he said, but did not require transportation to hospital.
Firefighters spent an hour and a half at the scene, helping to load the crashed vehicles onto tow trucks and clearing the road.
By 4.30pm the highway had reopened.
"Drive to the conditions - there's a lot of rain around this time of year," Stevens said.
Also on Sunday the Waikato Westpac Rescue was called to Taumarunui to retrieve a young man who crashed off his motocross bike.
He was suffering from serious internal injuries and was flown to Waikato Hospital for further treatment at 3pm.