Driver 'very lucky' to escape after car plunges 10 metres into river

The driver walked away after his vehicle plunged about 10m off a bridge at Whakaki, east of Wairoa.

The driver walked away after his vehicle plunged about 10m off a bridge at Whakaki, east of Wairoa.

The driver of a vehicle that plunged off a bridge east of Wairoa was "very lucky" to walk away with only cuts and bruises, Police say.

The Gisborne man, in his 60s, was driving to work in Wairoa on Wednesday morning when he lost control of his four-wheel-drive on State Highway 2 near Nuhaka.

Nuhaka policeman Craig Henneker said the vehicle somehow managed to mount and skim along the railings of the Tahaenui Bridge at Whakaki, before plunging about 10 metres into the water below.

The driver was able to open the vehicle's door and clamber out.

* Bridge plunge 'should have been a fatal'
* Tourists witness fatal bridge smash
Mob driver of river-plunge car was on meth

Locals heard the crash and got to the bridge just as the man was climbing up the bank, Henneker said.

They had dressed the man's cuts by the time he arrived at the scene.

The road had been wet at the time and the smash and the accident reinforced the age-old message that motorists always needed to drive to the conditions, he said.

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