Members of a shearing gang on their way to work were injured this morning, two of them seriously, when the van they were in left the Wharekopae Road at Ngatapa and smashed into a tree.

The emergency services got the call about the crash at around 6.30am today.

Eight of the people in the van were transported by the ECT rescue helicopter and two ambulances to Gisborne Hospital.

"One of the injured was treated inside the van for his injuries before being extricated by firefighters," St John territory manager Shane Clapperton said.

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"Of the eight people transported to hospital a man and a woman were seriously hurt with multiple injuries."

Clapperton said two men suffered moderate injuries and four other men had minor injuries.

"The first ambulance crews on the scene triaged the patients and they were transported as quickly as possible to hospital."

The injured woman, 36, was flown to hospital in the rescue helicopter.

The seven men were aged 15, 18, 20, 32, 42, 53 and 36.

Most of the injured had got out of the van by the time the emergency services arrived.
"The van suffered very significant frontal damage in the crash," said Station Officer Ed Hindmarsh from the fire service.

Firefighters assisted the St John ambulance with patient care.

The injured were assessed and treated in Gisborne Hospital's emergency department.

"They are all in a stable condition," a hospital spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said: "Contingency planning means that Gisborne Hospital is staffed to cope with such an incident despite being in the middle of a strike by Junior Doctors. The care of those involved in the accident has not been compromised in anyway by the strike."

Police have a serious crash investigation underway into the accident.

- Gisborne Herald