Three people rescued from car which went over cliff south of Westport

Three people have been rescued from a rental car which went over a cliff south of Westport. Photo / Westport News
Three people have been rescued from a rental car which went over a cliff south of Westport. Photo / Westport News

A firefighter using a safety rope climbed down a bank to rescue three female tourists from a rental car perched precariously half way the slope.

Westport fire station officer Graham Heaphy said firefighters were expecting a dramatic scene when they were told a car had gone over a cliff on SH6 south of Charleston on the West Coast at 12.55pm.

When they arrived, they found the car had gone about 3m down a 6-7m "slopey bank", which had a creek at the bottom.

The three occupants, who appeared to be women in their mid-20s, waited in the car as a firefighter climbed down to them using safety ropes.

"We just stabilised the vehicle because of the slope it was on, got someone down, checked them out, and pretty much opened the door and they managed to climb up," Heaphy said.

Firefighters put down a ladder for the women, who suffered only minor injuries, to climb up.

Heaphy said an interpreter was at the scene to communicate with the women, who were "a bit shaken" following the rescue.

He did not know if the interpreter was travelling with the women in a separate vehicle or whether police had brought her.

Heaphy said the rescue was "basic easy", and the car was fairly stable on the slope as trees were holding it in place.

"We just told them to stay in the vehicle until we actually stabilised it. We put ... a wire rope, strop, attached it to the fire truck to stop it from going any further."

He said the women were lucky the car had only gone 3m.

"They could've gone further down, possibly down into the creek at the bottom."

A Westport News journalist at the scene said the rental car had been travelling north towards Westport when it went over a tight hairpin bend.

Photo / Westport News
Photo / Westport News

The occupants were taken to Westport where they would be interviewed by police.

The car was retrieved by a tow truck but the road was still blocked on one lane.

Jucy rentals confirmed the car was one of theirs.

"While the driver and passengers are no doubt a little in shock from the experience, we're very relieved to hear there are no injuries," a spokesman said.

- NZ Herald

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