Police are praising the efforts of members of the public who fought to free a man and pull him from a burning car.
At around 9.30am on Sunday, a 28-year-old man was driving north on the Hibiscus Coast Highway.
He was the only person in the car, which veered off the road and smashed into a large tree, says police.
The force of the collision was so great it pushed the engine bay back into the driver, pinning him into the seat and impaling his leg with one of the pedals.
“Mr Michael Williams was travelling south in his campervan and saw the crash happen. He stopped immediately and spent the next minute trying to wake the unconscious driver.
“Moments later an off-duty policeman arrived, as well as Steve Strongman, Joe Parsons , Craig Watson, and Pua Magasiva.”
At this time the engine of the car caught fire and erupted into flames.
The driver had been roused by Michael and was in considerable pain, but was trapped in the car.
The off-duty policeman got into the car via the passenger door and managed to release the driver's seatbelt, as the fire continued.
“Over the next few minutes and with a combined effort from everyone involved, the group managed to rip the steering wheel off to free the driver's chest and pulled the pedal off that was trapping the driver by the leg,” says police.
“During this time some of the men tried to extinguish the flames using fire extinguishers and water as they continued to try and free the driver as the car continued to burn.
“The men managed to pull the badly injured driver from the wreckage, dragging him some 30 metres away to safety.”
They then carried out first aid on him and his badly damaged leg.
Emergency services arrived and the Fire Service doused the rest of the fire.
The driver was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
He has since undergone surgery for his injuries and is now in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital.
“The actions of this brave group of people has no doubt saved this man's life. Had it not been for their efforts, it's likely that this young man would have died,” says Acting Inspector Jason Homan.
“These were ordinary folk doing everyday things, who have been thrust into a situation where they have had to make a decision to stop and help someone in dire need. We hear a lot of bad things in our line of work, but it's things like this that remind us that there are a lot of good people out there.”
The family of the driver are very appreciative of the efforts of everyone who helped save their son.
The cause of the crash is not yet known and is under investigation by the Serious Crash Unit.