Three people are critically injured after a serious crash in Karangahake Gorge at 1.45pm - the second crash in the same spot today.

The second incident, a two-car head crash, saw three people trapped for a short time before being cut free by emergency services said St John spokesperson Rachel Lorimer.

Two patients were airlifted to Waikato hospital by the Auckland and Waikato Westpac helicopters and one, a 17 year old Auckland woman, was airlifted by the Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter to Tauranga hospital in a critical condition.

The crash, between Waihi and Paeroa was the second head on crash in the same spot today.
Senior sergeant Andrew O'Reilly said the Serious Crash Unit was investigating and would be in the area for some time.

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Police have asked motorists avoid the area until further notice because the road is still closed.

They are asked to use the Kopu Hikuae Road from Thames or SH29 Kaimai to access the Bay of Plenty.