A Dannevirke vet is in intensive care at Hawke's Bay Hospital after his ute was involved in a head on collision with a logging truck.
William Power, 30, the son of Kerry and Ros Power of Rua Roa, has worked with Vet Services, Dannevirke, since last year and was travelling north on State Highway 2 when the accident occurred about 9am yesterday.
The accident between Mr Power's Ford Courier and the empty logging truck was one of the worst the Norsewood Volunteer Fire Brigade has attended for sometime, fire chief Terrance Ahearn said.
"It was a nasty smash and the driver of the ute was seriously injured and had to be cut free from his vehicle by Dannevirke firefighters using the jaws of life.
"It was a front-on impact and Mr Power was lucky the first person on the scene had some medical capabilities.
"They did a great job before emergency services arrived."
Six Norsewood volunteer firefighters attended the accident and were supported by a Dannevirke crew and its fire police unit.
Mr Power suffered serious head injuries, Sergeant Tony Le Sueur of the Dannevirke Police said and he was in a critical condition after being flown to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the rescue helicopter. "The serious crash unit are investigating and there are no early indications as to what caused the accident at this stage," Mr Le Sueur said.
"The ute, driven by the vet was heading north, when it took a slight left-hand bend on the brow of a hill. It appears the driver failed to take the corner and crossed the centre line."
Mr Le Sueur said the empty truck, owned by Simpsons Logging, and the ute collided on their right-hand sides.
"It was as near to a head on as you could get and the ute then crashed into a bank on the southbound lane of the highway," he said.
"If the truck had been hauling a load of logs instead of piggy backing the trailer, it could have been a very different story."
The driver of the truck was uninjured but was taken to Dannevirke Community Hospital by ambulance to be checked out.
Traffic was diverted around the accident site, along Blairgowrie and Garfield Roads while the state highway was closed for two hours.
At the same time the highway north was closed, State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge had also been shut after a logging truck blew tyres and spilled its load on to the road and over the bank.
The driver was uninjured and the highway was open again by 2pm yesterday.
Meanwhile, Mr Le Sueur said Mr Power was in intensive care and due to have surgery yesterday afternoon.
"His parents are with him and we've been told he's expected to make a full recovery," he said.
In 2005, Mr Power starred in a television series focusing on Massey University's veterinary school. The series, Rookie Vets, featured Mr Power and six fellow fifth-year students who were filmed doing everything from pregnancy testing dairy cows to examining rams' testicles and collecting semen from prize bulls.