Miraculous escape after bridge plunge

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The man had been travelling from Cromwell to Queenstown when the accident happened. Photo / greg Bowker Greg Bowker
The man had been travelling from Cromwell to Queenstown when the accident happened. Photo / greg Bowker Greg Bowker

A driver has had what emergency workers dubbed a miraculous escape after surviving a 40-metre plunge off a bridge in his vehicle, which landed upside-down in a river.

Arrowtown station manager Greg Potter said the vehicle was towing a trailer carrying what looked like marquee equipment when it reportedly began fishtailing on the Gibbston Highway just before the Victoria Bridge.

The vehicle went over a barrier and fell about 40 metres into the Kawarau River below, landing upside-down.

It landed close to the bank and the driver managed to clamber out and on to the river bank with no serious injuries.

Emergency services, who were alerted around 6pm, were amazed the man had survived, and with no major injuries.

Mr Potter called it a miraculous escape.

"How the hell he got out, we're still shaking our heads.

"That man should go and buy a Lotto ticket, but he hasn't got any luck left I don't think''.

The man had been travelling from Cromwell to Queenstown when the accident happened.

He came on to the Victoria Flats bridge and lost it. The trailer turned side-on, blocked the road near enough,'' Mr Potter said.

A St John Ambulance spokesman said one man was taken to hospital on status three condition.

Gibbston Highway was closed for about 35 minutes.

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