Man trapped in car for hour

A man in his 70s was trapped in his crushed car for more than an hour yesterday afternoon following a two-vehicle, head-on crash on State Highway 6 at Gibbston.

Fire crews cut off the car's roof to get to the man who was then flown to Dunedin Hospital by rescue helicopter.

St John Central Lakes territory manager Kelvin Perriman, of Queenstown, said the man had moderate chest and head injuries.

The man's car ended up in a ditch on the side of the road as a result of the 1pm crash, on the Cromwell side of the Kawarau Bungy Centre.

The other vehicle, a black SUV, came to rest facing it, on the road.

The Kawarau Gorge highway was closed for more than an hour as fire crews from Frankton and Arrowtown worked to free the man.

Mr Perriman said two women, also in their 70s, were taken to Lakes District Hospital to be stabilised before being flown by two Dunedin rescue helicopters to Dunedin Hospital. They had chest injuries.

Three other people had minor to moderate injuries and were treated at Lakes District Hospital. One person was uninjured.

A man who was travelling in a car behind one of those which crashed rang emergency services. The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said a friend travelling with him was a volunteer firefighter and he immediately set to work checking on the crash victims.

When the crash occurred, the man had to brake heavily to avoid being caught in it.

The witness said all but one of the four occupants of the SUV got out of their vehicle quickly after the impact.

Senior Sergeant John Fookes, of Queenstown, said police were investigating the cause of the crash.

Yesterday, police would not release further details about where the occupants of the cars were from, or their ages.