Driver cheats death in icy plunge

BY MARK HOTTON IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2009
car crashes into pool
An Arrowtown woman had a lucky escape after she went through a fence, through a shed, struck a stone bbq and flipped into a covered icy swimming pool.

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An Arrowtown woman cheated death three times in a crash that has stunned fire and police officers.

Arrowtown chief fire officer Garry Hall said firefighters were amazed to find the 20-year-old alive when they arrived at the scene about 3am yesterday.

The woman was driving north in Bedford St when she clipped a stone traffic island, travelled about 40m before ploughing through a fence, demolishing a garden shed and then striking a stone barbecue.

That impact "pirouetted" the four-wheel-drive 180 degrees in the air and the vehicle plunged into an iced-over swimming pool that sits about 1.5m above the ground.

A length of timber also pierced the windscreen, narrowly missing her head.

The woman received minor injuries.

Constable Duncan Faulkner said he was amazed the vehicle had pirouetted into the pool, landing the right way up.

"I think she was a very lucky lady. To avoid having her head impaled, then avoid being drowned, and avoid hitting the house behind the pool is incredibly lucky."

Investigations were continuing but alcohol was thought to be involved, he said.

Mr Hall said officers checked the property and pool to make sure no passengers had been thrown from the vehicle.

"It's quite incredible really. I've seen some stupid things from time to time but that's definitely up there with the rest of them.

"The fact that no-one was injured is incredible. How someone survived that, well I just don't know."

Property owner Graeme Heazlewood has been holidaying in the North Island for a week with his wife and was shocked when The Southland Times broke the news of the crash to him yesterday.

"We're devastated. I've just done all that area up. The shed is new and we've done a lot of work in that backyard recently. We're just pleased no-one was badly injured."

A crane removed the vehicle from the pool yesterday.

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- The Southland Times

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