A crane had to be used to retrieve a truck after it collided with an overturned tanker and careened down a bank north of Rotorua yesterday.
The crash closed State Highway 36 between Rotorua and Tauranga for eight hours while emergency crews worked to right the tanker and haul the truck back on to the road.
The driver of the truck, which went backwards over the bank, was trapped in his vehicle for more than an hour after the collision at 8.30am.
He was flown to Waikato Hospital by Rotorua's BayTrust rescue helicopter with moderate injuries. The tanker driver escaped with minor cuts and grazes, but was said to be in shock.
Police said the tanker had been travelling from Tauranga to Rotorua when it tipped over on its side coming round a sharp bend on the Pyes Pa road.
The truck was travelling in the opposite direction and crashed head-on into the roof of the tanker as it lay on its side.
The impact sent the truck backwards over the scrub-covered bank, leaving only the cab visible about 3m below the road.
The tanker was carrying stock pellets and the truck was carrying foodstuffs.
A traffic diversion forced most vehicles to take State Highway 2 through Te Puke.