Two people are fighting for their lives and another is badly hurt after a car crashed down a bank near Taihape.

Four people were in the vehicle when it left the road on Spooners Hill Rd near the central North Island town.

Three rescue choppers responded to the crash site and rescuers using ropes helped to bring the crash victims back up to the road.

Two of the occupants suffered critical injuries, one was seriously hurt and the other suffered only minor injuries.

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Three of the victims were being flown to Whanganui Hospital, in three separate helicopters.

Police and firefighters attended the crash, as well as ambulance officers.

The crash happened at about 3.50pm.