A man has been injured after his ute clipped a tanker and was catapulted into a truck.
The crash happened on State Highway 1, near Galaxy Rd south of Tokoroa, about 12.30pm yesterday.
A Holden Colorado utility vehicle was heading north when it clipped a south bound milk tanker, and was catapulted into a south bound truck carrying wood pellets, Tokoroa Fire Service chief fire officer Dave Morris said.
"He [the ute driver] was trapped in the vehicle and was stabilised by ambulance staff at the scene. It looked quite bad but he was in a later model vehicle."
The man was initially reported as being critically hurt but police later said he was a Status 2 patient, meaning seriously injured.
He was flown by rescue helicopter to Waikato Hospital.
The two truck drivers were uninjured, a Taupo police spokesman said.
Mr Morris said the ute driver was lucky.
"We had a fire truck from Tokoroa and called out a fire truck from Putaruru for extra manpower.
"I think he was very lucky. I think he is going to be alright."
A Rotorua Daily Post photographer at the scene said wreckage which was strewn for about 150m along the highway.
The milk tanker received minor damage, but the pallet truck had to be towed away, he said.
Traffic on State Highway 1 was reduced to one lane causing minor delays, but reopened later in the afternoon.
Last night the man was under observation in the emergency department, a Waikato Hospital spokeswoman said.