Eight people, one in a critical condition, were taken to hospital yesterday after a four-vehicle crash on the Napier-Taupo road, which has had a serious accident every month since September.

Emergency services were called to Eskdale at 12.50pm, near the intersection of Glengarry Rd and State Highway 5, after two cars crashed head on. Two other vehicles appeared to have lost control, one ending up on its side in the middle of the road.

The fire service freed trapped motorists and the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter took a 59-year-old Eskdale woman to Hawke's Bay Hospital with multiple serious injuries. A hospital spokeswoman said last night the woman was undergoing surgery.

St John transported a 9-year-old girl and a woman in her 30s who were last night in a stable condition. Five others have been discharged.


The road was closed and traffic diverted via Glengarry Rd while the scene was cleared and police conducted an investigation.

District Command Centre Senior Sergeant Dan Foley said the reason accidents happened on State Highway 5 was not because it was necessarily a dangerous piece of road. It had such a high volume of traffic that when drivers lost control they usually hit another car.

"Generally speaking drivers drive safely but there's a lot of traffic. The road behaviour today was really good but when people lose control they hit something."

Earlier this month the road was closed for several hours after a truck and trailer went off the road and down a bank. There were no serious injuries.

On December 13 seven people were taken to hospital after a head-on crash as sudden rain caused a treacherous change of road conditions.

While the two vehicles in the crash were badly damaged injuries were "mainly minor", with all of those involved "very lucky" not to have been more seriously hurt, a police spokesperson said at the time.

On November 7 a Wellington teenager died when his motorbike crashed on the road 1km east of the Te Haroto Summit.

A crash in October left a 22-year-old man in a serious condition. Police said a truck driver saw the man's vehicle about 7.30am, after it had apparently rolled near the settlement of Te Haroto.

On September 15 an elderly couple were killed after their vehicle was in a collision with a logging truck. At the time police suspected the actions of a third vehicle were to blame.

Nearby on Saturday, on Puketitiri Rd about 500m south of its intersection with Glengarry Rd, a car ended up on its roof at about 10am after a driver in her early 20s lost control. She was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital by St John ambulance with minor injuries.

The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter responded to a rural Tutira address at 10am yesterday, where a 49-year-old man cut his wrist while butchering an animal.

He was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital where he was in a stable condition.