Mangonui firefighters took two hours to free a man whose legs were crushed by an eight-tonne bailer at Lake Ohia on Friday evening.

Emergency services were called at 6pm after the man was thrown from the tractor he was driving, the bailer coming to rest on his lower body.

Fire brigade spokesman Marty Yuretich said reaching the scene, in a paddock 300 metres up a hill, had involved transferring cutting and lifting equipment to a four-wheel drive vehicle, firefighters using hydraulic lifting equipment to lift the bailer and free the man, who was conscious throughout, then carrying him to a Northland Electricity rescue helicopter, which flew him to Whangarei Hospital.

His condition was not known yesterday.