TWO tourists who were injured when their hire van crashed into a truck on the Bass Highway near Deloraine this morning are in a critical condition at the Launceston General Hospital.
A third tourist is in a stable condition.
The tourists were riding three abreast in the front of the van when it was struck by a runaway truck tire and crashed into another truck just north of the Emu Bay Road intersection about 9am this morning.
Constable Nigel Housego, of Northern Accident Investigation Services, said the two trucks were travelling toward Deloraine when the front truck lost a wheel.
``A front right tyre of the truck has come away from the truck and has struck the van travelling in the opposite direction,'' Constable Housego said.
``The van has then gone out of control and hit another truck that was following the first truck.''
Truck driver Bill Anderson was following a short distance behind the two trucks, and saw the crash occur.
``I saw the van sort of swerve a bit, hit the truck, nearly stand on its end, saw the truck roll, and from then on it was just sort of pieces all over the road,'' Mr Anderson said.
``I just think it's an unfortunate accident... something has happened to the truck in front, the wheel has come off, and it's been a snowball effect.''
The drivers of both trucks were also taken to the Launceston General Hospital, but have been released without serious injuries.
A spokeswoman for police said the driver of the van, who is one of those critically injured, had sustained a number of fractures.
She said the injuries were not life-threatening.
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or contact Launceston police.