A teenage tourist who was on his way to Rotorua had to be flown to hospital with a wooden post in his chest after the bus he was a passenger in crashed through a fence.
A bus carrying about 15 tourists, who were on their way to Rotorua, crashed on State Highway 5, near Fitzgerald Glade, about 12.30pm yesterday.
Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance pilot Grant Bremner said a 17-year-old tourist had been impaled in the chest by a fence post.
He said the teenager was sitting by a window at the rear of the 20-seater bus when it left the road and hit the wooden fence.
The fence post had smashed through the window on impact and impaled the teenager under his armpit.
Mr Bremner said the fence post went right through the young man's chest and was poking out his back.
He said the teenager remained conscious and calm despite being seriously injured.
"It looks like a massive injury but I don't think it's life-threatening."
The boy's mother flew with him in the air ambulance to Waikato Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
It is understood the tourists were from China, and were heading to Rotorua at the time of the accident.
Local farmer Mark Sundgren said the crash made a "hell of a bang". He was at home when the crash happened, but as soon as he heard the bang, he knew a vehicle had crashed through his fence.
Mr Sundgren said he ran down to the crashed vehicle to help those involved, including the injured teenager.
"He was okay, I just kept telling him not to look at it so he didn't panic."
He said there were about 15 people on the bus and most of them suffered minor injuries.
"The driver was a bit shaken, but he was good and was trying to help everyone else."
Mr Sundgren said he was no stranger to vehicles crashing outside his house.
He said that in the past couple of years there had been several crashes through his fence.
"There's been a couple of deaths which have been really nasty.
"This is a bit of a dodgy corner. I think generally people drive too fast and lose control."
Mr Sundgren said motorists needed to slow down on that stretch of road.
A police spokeswoman said the road wasn't blocked but was reduced to one lane, with police directing traffic, while the scene was cleared.
The road was cleared and restored back to two lanes by 3pm.
She said an initial scene examination showed the bus had lost control on a moderate right-hand bend with the rear of the bus hitting an earth bank and a wooden fence.
The bus has been taken for examination and a decision on charges is expected to be made in the next few days.
The fire service was also called to the scene as a precaution.Additional reporting: APNZ