A Napier motorist centimetres away from tragedy was pulled to safety by a "hero" during a four-car pile-up.
David Palfreyman, 26, suffered bad concussion and other minor injuries but came perilously close to further harm before Dylan Pay, 20, rescued him centimetres from a 25m drop.
The two men were trying to help a woman and her passenger restart her car on the Hawke's Bay Expressway after it had broken down about 9.35pm on Tuesday. Mr Palfreyman said he was driving towards the bridge when he noticed something was wrong.
"On the side of the bridge just before you drive on it [heading north] there were a couple of cars parked with their hazard lights on."
He drove on to the bridge and saw a car had broken down and stopped to offer assistance.
"We couldn't get the car started, then Dylan pulled up and I mentioned something about jumper leads and he said he had some - so I jumped in my car and turned around so we could jump-start the car."
They had just managed to restart the vehicle when Mr Pay looked up to see a 4-wheel drive coming at them as he was helping the woman back into the driver's seat.
"I dragged the woman away and yelled at David at the same time, then the collision happened - the 4x4 just came out of nowhere. I managed to drag the woman away but the passenger in the car was trapped and I couldn't get her out, that's when I saw David crouching on the other side of the barrier."
Police believe Mr Palfreyman was struck by a car sending him through the air and on to the edge of the bridge.
The injured man was completely unaware of the dangers because of his concussion and said he had no recollection of how he ended up on the barrier.
Mr Palfreyman said if it was not for Mr Pay's presence of mind, he and the female driver could have been seriously injured or killed.
"Dylan pulled the lady out of the car, he is a hero - he saw the 4x4 coming at us, dragged her away and screamed at me 'Hey bro get out of the way'.
"If I hadn't jumped or been knocked out of the way, or whatever happened, I would have been crushed between two cars and it would have been a completely different story. All I can remember hearing was the screech of brakes and a lady screaming, then it's just all a blur - next thing I remember was when I came to in the ambulance."
The passenger of the woman's car was an 81-year-old woman who had to be cut free by the Fire Service and was taken to hospital in a serious condition.
Last night, a hospital spokeswoman said she was in a stable condition.
"All we were saying to each other was that we needed to get her started and off this bridge as soon as possible because it was so narrow," Mr Palfreyman said.
"In retrospect, we should have used my car to jump-start the woman's car because his one was parked further down the road and acting as a warning for people coming on to the bridge."
He said he struggled to believe the 4x4 did not see them before it was too late.
Police said no charges had yet been laid.