Two Swiss tourists were lucky to escape with their lives when their campervan was struck by a loaded truck near the intersection of State Highways 1 and 12 at Brnderwyn yesterday.
The crash took place in front of the Swinging Cow Cafe about 1.20pm when the young Swiss couple's van came out of the cafe carpark and attempted to cross State Highway 1 to head south.
Police say the van moved into the path of a northbound Smith and Davies truck towing a low-loader which carried a forestry machine. The truck hit the van on the driver's side at speed and carried it about 40m up hill.
The impact was caught on cafe security cameras.
Maungaturoto Fire Brigade volunteers cut the driver, a woman in her early 20s, from the wrecked van and she was taken to Whangarei Hospital by ambulance with a suspected broken shoulder blade and rib injuries.
Her male companion, who was in the van's front passenger seat, was uninjured.
Police diverted southbound traffic at Waipu, directing vehicles off SH1 to Kaiwaka, via Mangawhai. Northbound SH1 traffic was diverted past the Brynderwyn hill via Maungaturoto and the Waipu Gorge road until about 2.30pm.
Cafe owner Maggie Everett said the couple had called in to the cafe to have a bite to eat.
When they left the cafe carpark, the shop's security cameras showed the van manoeuvring around a milk truck before turning to go south.
"The truck driver was putting his foot down - as they all do - to get up the hill," she said.
The crash took place in front of the cafe and the impact carried the van, pinned to the front of the truck, up the hill to the front of a building which was once a service station.
Constable Lleu Smart of Maungaturoto and Whangarei police serious crash unit Senior Constable Warren Bunn both told the Advocate the Swiss woman was fortunate her injuries had not been more severe.