A young woman is in a critical condition at Waikato Hospital's Intensive Care Unit while three other people suffered serious injuries in a head-on collision at Muriwai yesterday.
Two of the four people involved in the crash just south of Maraetaha Bridge on State Highway 2 were transferred to Waikato Hospital.
Emergency services responded to the crash on the Gisborne side of Bartletts Hill shortly before 10.30am.
A woman in her late teens suffered critical injuries.
A man and another woman — said to be in their 20s — in the same vehicle were seriously injured.
A 62-year-old woman in the other car suffered serious injuries.
The Trust Tairawhiti Rescue helicopter flew the critically injured woman to Gisborne Hospital while the others were transported there by three St John ambulances.
Firefighters from Gisborne had to cut one of the young women out of the car.
“It was a difficult job and took about 40 minutes,” said Senior Station Officer Jason Higgins.
“One of the younger women, a front seat passenger, was wedged underneath the vehicle's glovebox.
“We had to cut the front part of the car apart, spread the dashboard and roll it off her to get her out.”
The Herald understands the older woman was from Hawke's Bay and the other three people were from Gisborne and Wairoa.
The two younger women were flown to Waikato Hospital later in the day.
Waikato Hospital reported this morning that one of the young women was “serious but stable” in its High Dependency Unit.
“The other is critical in our Intensive Care Unit.”
A 25-year-old man in the car with them was admitted to Gisborne Hospital, along with the older woman.
Gisborne Hospital reported this morning that both were in a stable condition.
A number of passersby stopped to help before emergency services arrived.
“It was a big effort by all the emergency services personnel to get everyone stabilised and taken to hospital,” said St John territory manager Shane Clapperton.
“The passersby who assisted were really helpful.”
Rescue chopper manager Doug Buchanan said it was a high-speed crash.
“Both vehicles were severely damaged in the front. It was very fortunate it was not a fatal crash, as head-on accidents like it so often tend to be.”
Mr Buchanan echoed Mr Clapperton's comments about the job done to help the injured.
“It was a really good team effort by St John, ourselves, firefighters, police and passersby.”
Police have a serious crash inquiry under way. They completed a scene examination yesterday afternoon.
The highway was closed for about an hour and a half while the injured were tended to and the crash scene cleared.