The driver of the truck and trailer unit which crashed off Waitahora Rd on Monday afternoon is in a stable condition in intensive care at Palmerston North Hospital.

Locals believe the driver, Henry Broughton, is a very lucky man to be alive, having been thrown out of his truck as it plunged down a 30m bank.

Emergency services said the 73-year-old needed to be stabilised at the scene before being transferred to hospital.

Mr Broughton had just taken delivery of a load of lime from Brown's Quality Lime Quarry about 3pm on Friday and was heading to Ravensdown in Dannevirke when his truck failed to negotiate a slight curve on a narrow section of Waitahora Rd, crashing through the fence and secondary bush to finish upside-down in the valley.

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He was discovered at 4pm when a local farmer saw the crash and went to investigate, finding Mr Broughton thrown clear and lying injured.

In the absence of cell-phone coverage he went to the nearest landline and called emergency services.

Four locals, one of whom had just completed his first aid certificate, attended Mr Broughton until two fire appliances, an ambulance and a police car arrived.

They, in turn, called in the rescue helicopter which was able to land 100m from the crash site.

Owner of Brown's Quality Lime, Gerard Brown said Mr Broughton was one of his best drivers and he hoped for a speedy recovery.