Emergency services say a man who lost control of his vehicle on the Victoria bridge and fell about 40 meters into the Kawarau River is lucky to be alive.
The Arrowtown and Cromwell volunteer fire brigades were called to assist ambulance personnel at the accident on the Gibbston highway about 6pm tonight.
Arrowtown station officer Greg Potter, who attended the scene, said there was only one occupant in the vehicle and he was "very very lucky to be alive".
"That man should buy himself a lottery ticket."
The man was driving a ute and towing a trailer towards Arrowtown.
The trailer was loaded with what looked like marquee equipment, he said.
The driver lost control of his ute, which plunged into the river and landed upside down.
"Luckily he managed to get out of the vehicle and swim to the bank, but he must have been very sore."
Meanwhile, the trailer toppled onto its side and landed in the middle of the bridge, blocking traffic, he said.
The road was closed for about 35 minutes.
The ute is still in the river and only three wheels could be seen.
The harbour master and police were called to the scene, he said.
An ambulance spokesman said the driver had complained of neck pain and had been transported to Lakes District Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.
- The Southland Times