News from NZ Police at 7.59am
Emergency Services are dealing with a serious crash on the Napier -Taupo Road (SH5) near Te Haroto. The accident was reported to police at 6.45am. A van carrying eight people has crashed down a 40 metre bank and landed on its roof.
A man with a 6 month old baby has managed to climb up the bank and wave down passing traffic. The man is in a serious condition and the baby has minor injuries. The 6 remaining people in the van are trapped and their status is unknown at this time.
It has been difficult for Emergency Services to get down to the van and extra resources are coming from Hawkes Bay to assist. Police, Fire and Ambulance from Taupo and Hawkes Bay are at the scene as well as two Rescue Helicopters.
The road is likely to stay closed for several hours.
UPDATE from NZ Police at 9.10am
Emergency Services are now extracting the six injured people from the crashed van. A helicopter is being used to winch the injured from the vehicle, up on to the road where they are being assessed.
They are in a serious condition (Status 2) with one in a critical condition (Status 1). Rescue Helicopters from Hawkes Bay, Taupo and Rotorua are at the scene and they will be transporting the injured to hospital.
UPDATE from NZ Police at 11.30am
The last person has been extracted from the crashed van and will soon be flown to Hawkes Bay Hospital. Five people are already in hospital with the 6 month old baby and one adult in a critical condition. The remaining people are in a serious but not life threatening condition.
It is not known if the van occupants are all family members and this information will not be confirmed until they are spoken to at hospital. The van was travelling south towards Napier when the crash happened.
UPDATE from NZ Transport Agency at 12.05pm
SH 5 Tarawera, Taupo to Napier, has reopened after the crash. Motorists should expect delays in both directions.
RadioNZ: Driver may have been asleep