Driver cheats death after 40m bridge plunge

By Lucy Bennett

A drive escaped drowning after their car landed upside-down in a river. Photo / APNZ
A drive escaped drowning after their car landed upside-down in a river. Photo / APNZ

A driver 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 onto the river bank with no serious injuries.

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Emergency services, who were alerted around 6pm yesterday, 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.

- APNZ

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