Driver rescued after truck rolls into river

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 08:38 23/05/2014
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Nelson Mail

A logging truck driver has been freed after the vehicle rolled into the Buller River.

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A truck driver rescued from his vehicle after it rolled into the Buller River yesterday is recovering in Nelson Hospital's intensive care unit.

A hosptial spokesperson confirmed that the man was in a stable condition on Friday morning.

Police say the logging truck drive was lucky to survive a crash which left his vehicle partially submerged in the Buller River yesterday morning.

Sergeant Rob Crawford said the truck was travelling south towards Murchison when it failed to take a right hand bend, went through a fence, across a paddock and over a 30 metre bank into the river.

The driver was trapped in the cab for two hours before being rescued.

Police, fire, ambulance, river rafting crews and a jet boat were involved in the rescue.

The driver has been flown to Nelson Hospital by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter.

Police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said the driver was trapped in the cab of the vehicle, and special water rescue craft were deployed to help. 

An onlooker said it appeared the cab of the truck had been completely crushed.

Murchison based freelance photographer Barry Whitnall said the truck was in the middle of the river, and the whole cab appeared to be flattened in the front.

"It looks like it's gone in head-first, from a bend in the 100kmh stretch of road."

A rescue helicopter was also on the scene. Whitnall said attempts to winch a paramedic from the chopper down on to a boat, so they could access the cab, were unsuccessful because of the amount of rotor wash created.

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- Nelson

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