A tanker carrying a dairy product has crashed in the Awakino Gorge on State Highway 3 north of New Plymouth this morning.
Sergeant Royston Betteridge, from New Plymouth police, said the driver had been trapped but was freed by 6.20am.
The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter transported the driver to Taranaki Base Hospital with moderate injuries.
The truck had gone off the road and into the gorge, and emergency services were notified at 5.30am when another truck driver drove out of the gorge into cellphone range and raised the alarm.
The road might be closed temporarily while cranes lifted the truck from the river, and motorists could expect some delays.
Waikato Regional Council emergency response manager Rob Dragten said the truck was taking evaporated whey protein, a product of cheese making, from Lichfield to Kapuni for further processing or disposal.
He said the sticky, sweet protein was leaking into the Awakino River.
‘‘Because this material is high in sugar it breaks down in water quickly and reduces the amount of oxygen in the river.’’
A lack of oxygen could be harmful fish and other aquatic life.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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