Two carloads of nursing students were among the first on the scene of a crash that caused traffic chaos in Tauranga, yesterday.

The head-on collision happened on State Highway 29, about 300m south of the Welcome Bay roundabout just after 8am.

One man was thrown from a car down a bank and another was trapped with a broken leg.

Congested traffic was backed up for kilometres with some commuters taking more than an hour to travel from Welcome Bay shops to Tauranga's CBD.


Among those commuters were two groups of carpooling nursing students heading to Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's Windermere Campus.

We didn't do it as nursing students. We just did our part as anyone else would. We all have first-aid training and want to help where we can.


Marieke de Jong was travelling in one of the cars when they came across the collision.

"We didn't see the crash happen but we saw there was a crash and there were no ambulances nearby. We thought because we had first aid training that maybe we could help."

The seven third-year nursing students stopped and approached the patients, assessing their injuries and ensuring they were calm, alert and conscious.

"We just talked to the people who were involved in the crash and made sure they were safe. We couldn't do anything for pain relief but we were keeping them awake and trying to keep them calm," Ms de Jong said.

Read more: Many discover joy of cycling

"We didn't do it as nursing students. We just did our part as anyone else would. We all have first-aid training and want to help where we can."

Emergency services rescued the man thrown 6m down the bank and the other trapped in his vehicle.

Head of Western Bay of Plenty road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said the impact of the crash threw both cars off the road, one of which nosedived down a bank into trees.

Mr Campion said officers were manually managing traffic at the Welcome Bay roundabout to divert Greerton-bound traffic through Hairini or Ohauiti.

Traffic crashes
If you are involved in a road-traffic accident as a driver and one or more of the following occurs:

* A person, other than yourself, is injured

* Damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else's property - including street lamps, signs, bollards etc.

* An animal has been killed or injured, except in your own vehicle or trailer

Then you must:

* Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period

* Give your vehicle registration number, your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner (if different) to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details

* If you don't exchange those details at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours.