A 57-YEAR-OLD man from York was last night fighting for his life following a head-on crash.

The man was on the A19 two miles north of Shipton by Beningbrough when his silver Rover and a black Vauxhall Meriva heading in the opposite direction collided shortly after 2pm yesterday.

The accident happened as the cars negotiated a bend in the road. The Rover was going towards York and the Vauxhall towards Easingwold.

The Rover driver was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary, but the full extent of his injuries is not yet known. A family of four in the Vauxhall – a man, woman and two children – suffered minor cuts and bruising and were taken by ambulance to York Hospital for treatment.

Part of the road was closed in both directions, affecting traffic between Easingwold and Shipton, for about four hours as police examined the crash site and removed the vehicles.

Author and former police officer Mike Pannett, who witnessed the aftermath, said a Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter landed in the road shortly after the accident and about a dozen police, fire and ambulance vehicles were also called.

Traffic Sergeant Hamish Halloway, of North Yorkshire Police, made an appeal for witnesses. He said: “I am particularly keen to speak with the driver of a white van which was following the Rover shortly before the collision. I believe that he or she may have vital information to assist the investigation.”

Witnesses can phone police on 101.