Ambulance officers came across a serious crash outside Ruatoria this morning, alerting other emergency services to a ute that had crashed into a ditch.
Five people were in the vehicle, four of them trapped, after the crash on State Highway 35, the Pacific Coast Highway.
A St John spokesperson told the Herald one patient was airlifted to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition.
Two patients in a serious condition were airlifted to Gisborne Hospital and two more in a moderate condition were also taken to Gisborne Hospital, one by road and one by air.
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Fire crews from Ruatoria and Tikitiki attended the scene and extricated the four passengers, Fire and Emergency New Zealand shift manager Michael Wanoa said.
State Highway 35 (Waiapu Rd) was closed earlier this morning at the intersection with Whareponga Road but has since reopened.