A Queenstown man is lucky to be alive after his car rolled down a steep 40 metre bank, landing upside-down and under water in Kawarau River, near Arrowtown.
Adam Dear told Radio New Zealand how he was driving back from a job last night, towing a trailer on his ute when it all went very wrong.
"I went to brake to slow, and the trailer just pushed the back end of the ute out, and it just sent me fishtailing up into the barrier and then rolled over the barrier, off the cliff edge and down into the water."
After what seemed like a long time rolling the ute came to a stop, upside-down and was immediately filled with water.
"It was completely black, I couldn't see anything and that's when it got quite real, sort of a bit scary.
"I managed to pop my seatbelt off and my window was wide open so I just pushed through in that direction, pushed through all the mud and murky water.
"I seen the light and realised that was upwards and swam up and out the top."
He was in the water for about 20 seconds in total.
Other than a few stitches in his knee, a bit of whiplash and a few bruises Dear said he was unharmed.
"I'm definitely the luckiest man in Queenstown right now, without a doubt.
"I don't know how I survived, I think I was just holding myself tight in the seat and the seatbelt obviously saved me, I've got a big bruise across my collarbone from it."
Arrowtown fire station manager Greg Potter said everyone at the station was amazed Dear had got out alive, Mountain Scene reported.
“How the hell he got out, we’re still shaking our heads," Potter said.
“That man should go and buy a Lotto ticket, but he hasn’t got any luck left I don’t think.”
- Fairfax Media