A 27-year-old man has narrowly avoided tragedy after his car exploded following a crash in Papakura, south Auckland.
Police say the man's car crashed into a paddock on Papakura-Clevedon Road just before 4pm on Friday and was quickly engulfed in flames.
The man was still trapped inside and was badly injured, "lapsing in and out of consciousness", area commander Inspector Dave Glossop said.
A passing officer, Constable Jenny Sinclair, and a member of the public leaped into action immediately.
They were forced to pull the man out through the passenger door of the car, with the flames too intense at the driver's side door.
And they managed to rescue him just in time.
"When they were just metres away the vehicle exploded, firing debris in all directions," Insp Glossop said.
A rescue helicopter and ambulance were also called to the scene and the driver was raced to hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.
Insp Glossop said the two rescuers acted instantly despite the danger.
"Police are extremely proud of Constable Sinclair and the Good Samaritan, who we will be thanking formally at a later time," he said.
The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the incident.