Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter and the Taupo-based Greenlea Rescue Helicopter were kept busy today dealing with multiple victims, including one dead and two critical.

About 4.45pm today both rescue helicopters were called to a three-car crash on State Highway 5 about 5km south of Rotorua which resulted in six victims, including one person pronounced dead at the scene.

Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter Pilot Liam Brettkelly said two cars collided head on and another was also involved.

Mr Brettkelly said the Tauranga-based rescue helicopter flew a 58-year-old Rotorua woman to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition after she suffered pelvic, chest and abdominal injuries.


Her husband was flown to Waikato Hospital by the Greenlea Rescue helicopter, and the remaining victims where driven to Rotorua Hospital by St John ambulance staff, he said.

The road was closed and road diversions were in place until about 8.30pm last night.

Mr Brettkelly said the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter was earlier called to a trail ride event near Pongakawa after a 51-year-old Tauranga man suffered serious chest injuries when he collided with another rider.

"The patient was treated at the scene by the event medics before being flown to Tauranga Hospital in a serious condition. The other rider was uninjured in the crash."

Mr Brettkelly said on arrival back at Tauranga Hospital base the rescue helicopter was called back to the same event after another rider was injured in a separate incident but was soon stood down because the patient's condition was not as bad as first thought, he said.