Three rescue helicopters were needed to transport five people injured in a crash last night. The two-vehicle crash happened on State Highway 5 in Taupo about 8.15pm.

The Rotorua-based BayTrust Rescue helicopter, the Taupo Greenlea Rescue Helicopter and the WestPac Waikato Air Ambulance were all called to Taupo Hospital.

Patients were initially transported to the hospital by road ambulances. Two patients were then flown to Waikato Hospital and three were flown to Rotorua Hospital.

All patients were in a serious condition. Flights were undertaken with the assistance of night vision goggles amid "challenging weather conditions", the Philips Search and Rescue Trust said.

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