Truckie weighs in to save couple
For Bulls truckie Murray Davidson, a hug and a handshake were all the thanks he needed after using his own body weight as a counter-balance on the boot of a car teetering on the edge of a cliff.
His actions upon coming across the crash on the Desert Road in June last year helped ensure the two people inside the precariously positioned vehicle, poised over an 80-metre to 100m drop, could escape unharmed and have earned him a Taupo Area Commander's Commendation.
Davidson was given the commendation certificate by Taupo police last week.
Davidson said he had been driving his curtain-sider truck and trailer from Auckland to Palmerston North when he came across the crash at a spot on the Desert Road, known as "the wall", in the mid-late morning.
The corner was one of four areas on the road he always watched out for, he said, and, on that day, it was made all the more dangerous by snow and ice on the road.
Davidson immediately pulled over to aid the couple, who had tilted their seats back but remained in the car, terrified.
It was "see sawing" back and forth on a rock, so Davidson sat on the boot, allowing another couple who had also stopped to helped the pair out of the car.
Those people left shortly after, but Davidson connected the car to his truck and dragged it away from the edge.
He then put the couple inside his truck, heater on full, and proceeded to direct traffic for more than an hour until police arrived.
"I would have thought anyone would have done what I did. It's totally instinct to help out when someone else is in trouble," he said.
"I didn't think about driving on, it was almost like what you would call an automatic reaction."
The vehicle, driven by a woman with her husband as a passenger, had hit a patch of ice, causing the driver to lose control, he later discovered.
The pair escaped the crash with only minor injuries and were able to drive their car away from the site.
While the thank yous he received from police and his rescuers on the scene were enough for Davidson, he was thanked again when Sergeant Steve Denny, and Senior Constable Stephen McLardy, presented him with his certificate in his home.
Taupo area commander Inspector Steve Bullock said there was no doubt Davidson had removed those people from potential danger, and displayed some "good old Kiwi ingenuity", in both securing the couple and the car.
"What he did was fantastic.
"Most importantly, he did something - a lot of people don't act."