A teenager is in a serious condition in hospital after suffering severe burns while pouring petrol on a bonfire.

Emergency services were called to a rural property near Levin yesterday evening after reports a 15-year-old boy had been hurt in the incident.

A St John spokeswoman said the teen had been pouring petrol on a bonfire when it is thought the can exploded.

He suffered serious burns and was treated by paramedics at the scene, before being airlifted by the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter to Hutt Hospital.

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The teenager's mother accompanied him on the flight to hospital.

Crew members on the rescue helicopter also used night vision goggles on the mission.