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A witness to a horror crash in the Ruapehu District had to smash a car window to rescue people - including an infant - from the wreckage.
At least seven people have been injured in the two-car collision that closed State Highway 1 south of Waiouru. Police confirmed one person has also died.
Police were alerted to the crash on SH1 in the Waiouru Military Area, in the Ruapehu district in the central North Island, about 11.45am today.
A St John spokeswoman said earlier they were transporting seven patients: one in a critical condition, two in a serious condition, and four with moderate injuries.
A witness to the crash said he was driving north behind a car when it attempted to overtake a truck on a blind corner.
"It went head-on into a car coming the other direction," Alex Campbell told the Herald.
"I got out and went over. My adrenaline was pumping really hard and all I was thinking was 'how can I help the people in this situation and get this family out as quickly as possible'.
"I helped the driver out of his seat. I then proceeded to help his family out of the vehicle.
"There were two adults in the back, a mother and possibly grandmother.
"I had to pin the passenger front door open, bend the top of it and break the window to get an infant girl out of there."
Campbell said another child and baby were also removed from the car.
He said there were at least two people in the other vehicle.
"The passenger was trapped inside, so we had to wait for about 20 minutes for the ambulance to come with the jaws of life."
Campbell said the front of both vehicles was caved in.
He said the truck appeared to have continued on and was not involved in the incident.
A rescue helicopter had been sent from Palmerston North.
The road was closed and motorists were advised to avoid the area.
The Serious Crash Unit had been advised.