A road cyclist who crashed off a rural road southwest of Auckland suffered critical injuries, but her life is said to have been saved by her helmet.
The crash inflicted a head injury on the woman, aged in her 40s. She was flown to Auckland City Hospital in a Westpac Rescue Helicopter following the accident at Karioitahi, between Waiuku and the west coast.
The helicopter service was called about 9.30am.
The woman had been riding fast downhill and lost control at the bottom, falling into a ditch, said Lincoln Davies, communication manager for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.
"She was wearing a helmet, but unfortunately suffered a head injury."
Helicopter crewman Ati Wynyard said: "The helmet most certainly helped save her life".
Davies said an emergency support procedure, "rapid sequence intubation", was carried out to assist the woman's breathing.