At least some of the firefighters who were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on the Awanui Straight, two kilometres north of Kaitaia, on Monday afternoon expected to be faced with at least one fatality. They were amazed, one saying it was little short of a miracle, when they found that everyone had escaped virtually unscathed.

The elderly couple in the camper, believed to be New Zealanders on holiday, were badly shaken but suffered only minor injuries after apparently attempting a U-turn in front of a Toll truck and trailer.

It is believed that the five-metre camper bus had been heading north when the driver pulled over to the side of the road then began to execute the U-turn.

The camper was "T-boned right in the middle" and shunted into a drain on the opposite side of the road, Kaitaia Fire Brigade Senior Station Officer Ross Beddows said.

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Their vehicle was "absolutely written off',' and their belongings were strewn over a wide area.

The cab of the truck was badly damaged but the driver, who was also badly shaken, suffered similarly minor injuries.

The couple were very fortunate not to have been seriously hurt, or worse, Mr Beddows said, adding that one lane was blocked, causing extensive delays for traffic between Kaitaia and Awanui.

Firefighters helped with traffic control and cleaning up spilt diesel and battery acid.

A St John spokesman said all three were treated at the scene. No one required transporting to Kaitaia Hospital.