A retired farmer didn't hesitate when he found his neighbour trapped underneath his station wagon, struggling to breathe.
David Costley, 68, backed into the wheel arch and lifted up the vehicle enough to take the weight of the injured Peter Milne.
Mapua Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Aaron Thawley, who was among the emergency staff called to the accident, said it showed what "adrenalin can do".
The drama began when Mr Costley heard strange noises from where he knew Mr Milne was working on his car at Mapua Leisure Park, 31km west of Nelson on Saturday, The Nelson Mail reported.
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He immediately guessed what had happened and rushed to his neighbour's aid.
"He was trying to call out, but he had the weight of the car on his chest and he couldn't make much noise at all," Mr Costley said.
Both car jacks had apparently failed and the full weight of the vehicle had fallen on Mr Milne.
Once Mr Milne had been rescued, Mr Costley retired to his nearby caravan to recover but he was then taken hospital to check out chest pains.
He was given a clean bill of health and discharged.
Mr Milne remained in Nelson Hospital today with cracked ribs and a broken collarbone.