A visiting German farm worker had to be cut free from the mangled wreckage of his car after a head-on collision with another vehicle on a rural road near Masterton yesterday morning.
Fabian Peter, 21, was taken to Wellington Hospital with significant leg injuries he received in the smash, which had happened on the Te Ore Ore Bideford Rd about 8.20am yesterday.
The impact of the crash had slammed the motor of Mr Peter's Holden Astra back in to the cab of the vehicle and he had narrowly escaped more serious injuries, Masterton Station Officer Mike Cornford said.
Firefighters cut the doors from the vehicle and partially rolled back the roof, he said, using hydraulic rams to force the motor back toward the engine bay.
"He was fairly extensively trapped and had some significant leg injuries," Mr Cornford said.
"The motor had been pushed back and his legs were caught in the footwell and under the steering column. He was actually quite lucky and could have had a lot worse injuries."
Paramedics had given Mr Peter first response treatment and stabilised him while he was cut from the wreckage. He had been conscious and talking with his rescuers throughout his ordeal, Mr Cornford said.
A Life Flight Westpac rescue helicopter airlifted Mr Peter from the crash site to Wellington Hospital, where he was late yesterday listed in a stable condition.
Mr Peter arrived in New Zealand in March as a Willing Worker on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and had been working at the Bowlands farm - owned by Wairarapa Federated Farmers president Jamie Falloon - bordering the stretch of road where the crash occurred yesterday.
Mr Falloon said Mr Peter had been working at Bowlands for the past week and had been planning on moving to another farm at the end of the week. Now he would instead be returning home to Germany once he was well enough.
He said Mr Peter had been also on a Martinborough farm and was working his way through the country "getting an experience of real rural New Zealand".
He said Mr Peter had received a deep cut to his leg and had chipped a bone in his lower leg, for which he was to undergo surgery. Mr Falloon applauded the fire, police and medical and rescue crews for their work at the crash scene and said Mr Peter was "very lucky" to have come away without more serious injuries.
Mr Falloon said he knew the woman driver involved, who lived down the road, and the crash had left her badly shaken.
Senior Constable Harvey Pope was at the scene yesterday morning and said the woman had been treated at the scene for shock and taken to Wairarapa Hospital for further assessment.
A serious crash unit investigation was launched and an officer was gathering evidence yesterday.