Two 14-year-olds have been hailed as heroes after pulling an unconscious driver from a submerged vehicle.
Liam Robinson and Angus Bailey had cycled to the Halswell River in Greenpark, outside Christchurch, for a dip late yesterday afternoon.
They had just leapt in the water when they heard the sound of a crash about 100 metres away. A Toyota Hilux had gone off the road and filled with water up to the steering wheel.
The driver, Andrew Tobeck, 30, was unconscious and slumped forward in the driver's seat, face down in the water.
Robinson and Bailey biked to the scene and found the ute partly submerged, Senior Constable Jim Manning said.
"They jumped in ... the two of them have managed to free the driver, open the cab door and pull him out and pull him up on to the bank. They also checked the cab in case there was anybody else trapped inside," Manning said.
"The pair have shown incredible presence of mind, and there's no doubt their actions have helped to saved the driver's life.''
Robinson ran to a nearby house to raise the alarm.
The Lincoln Volunteer Fire Brigade attended the scene and looked after Andrew until an ambulance arrived. He was taken to Christchurch Hospital with concussion and moderate injuries. He was in a comfortable condition today.
His brother, Dean Tobeck, said the family were incredibly grateful to the two young men.
He said his brother owed his life to them.
Dean Tobeck visited Andrew last night and they expected him to be discharged today or tomorrow.
''It's pretty amazing what those guys did. If it weren't for them, he would have drowned.''
Dean Tobeck said Andrew, who had celebrated his 30th birthday last week, could not remember anything of the crash.
''He can remember crossing the bridge a couple hundred metres before the crash, the next thing he remembers is waking up halfway to hospital in an ambulance.
''There's no skid marks. It's like he blacked out.''
He said his brother had been told of the teenagers' efforts and was ''very grateful".
Simon Tobeck, another brother, said ambulance staff had told them if Andrew had been left there another two minutes he would have died.
''We could have been planning a funeral,'' he said.
The teens' parents said they were very proud of what their sons had done.
Bailey's mother, Corinne Bailey, said when her son phoned her and told her what had happened she almost could not believe it.
''I don't think he realises what he did, really. They seem to take it in their stride.''
She said the ditch where Tobeck crashed was ''massive'' and she hated driving down there.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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