Driverless car heads downhill for dip

CHE BAKER
Last updated 09:50 03/04/2013
Car in Lake Dunstan
CHE BAKER/Fairfax NZ

EMPTYING OUT: A vehicle recovery worker drains water out of Cromwell woman Marirn Haig's car after pulling it from Lake Dunstan yesterday.

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A wet Instant Kiwi ticket will, hopefully, bring some better fortune for a Cromwell woman after her car rolled down a small hill and a 20-metre bank before sinking in Lake Dunstan in Cromwell yesterday.

Marirn Haig, 63, was dropping off some groceries to her sister's house in Donegal St about 11.15am when her Honda Civic rolled down the hill from where it had been parked, across Alpha St and into the water.

"I turned around and it was gone," Ms Haig said.

At first she thought it could have been stolen but after running into the street she saw the car rolling downhill and then watched it sinking in the lake.

Ms Haig wanted to jump in after it but two women who arrived at the scene were able to hold her back, she said.

Sergeant Bruce Martin, of Alexandra, said it was first believed the handbrake of the car had not been put on. However, it was found to be pulled on, just not hard enough, when the car was recovered.

"It's good no-one has been hurt. It could have had some quite serious consequences if there were people on the lakeside or a car travelling along Alpha St," Mr Martin said.

The car travelled a total distance of 100m and ended up submerged in the lake.

Ms Haig had gone into shock and was taken by ambulance for treatment at the Cromwell Medical Centre before returning to the scene of the mishap to see the car recovered.

Her sopping wet wallet was retrieved from the car and in it she found the wet Instant Kiwi ticket.

The car had belonged to her late mother, who would have been calling her a "naughty girl".

"I'll no longer be able to tear around town it in," Ms Haig said.

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- The Southland Times

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