Key Points:

A 39-year-old man's life may have been saved when he was flung out of his car which then rolled 80m down a bank and crashed, rescuers say.

The man was thrown into a paddock when his car ran off the road near Waitaanga, in north Taranaki, today.

The vehicle then plunged down a bank before coming to rest against a bush, centimetres from another 50m drop.

The man was rescued from the paddock by a driver and carried back to the roadside, where he was met by the Taupo Lion Foundation rescue helicopter.

He was treated for shock and a broken leg before being airlifted to Waikato Hospital.

Rescue pilot Hendry de Waal said the said the man was lucky to have been thrown clear because the car was wrecked.

- NZPA