Tanker crashes on alternate highway
A milk tanker has crashed into a power pole on the South Island's alternate highway in Wairau Valley, Marlborough.
The truck and trailer unit was heading for Blenheim when it came off the road near the corner of State Highway 63 and Parsons Rd, about 42 kilometres west of Blenheim, around 8am on Wednesday.
The driver of the tanker, a Southland man in his 30s, was trapped inside the cab for about 30 minutes until power in the area could be disconnected.
Two appliances from the Wairau Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade and one from the Renwick Volunteer Fire Brigade attended the scene, with police, ambulance and a rescue helicopter from Nelson.
Firefighters used hydraulic rams to push the cab and windscreen off the driver so they could pull him out. He was flown to Nelson Hospital about 9.15am.
Senior Constable Tony Barrow, of Blenheim, said at the scene the driver and sole occupant of the truck was not badly injured.
"He's in good condition - walking, talking. Getting him out of the cab was the hard part," Barrow said.
Police were trying to determine the cause of the accident, but alcohol was not a factor, he said.
Wairau Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade senior station officer Ian Topp said an eye witness in a truck travelling behind the tanker saw no apparent cause for the crash.
"The witness said the tanker suddenly veered off the road, taking out the concrete power pole," Topp said.
"The tanker driver was very lucky. A foot either side and the pole would have gone right through the cab. It could have been a lot more serious."
The tanker belonged to TSL Transport Services and was empty at the time of the crash.
The eastbound lane of SH63 was closed for about an hour. The crash disconnected a 240-volt feeder line to two homes near the crash, but a 11,000-volt main line was not cut.
Marlborough Lines operations manager Warner Nichol said a replacement concrete pole would be delivered to the site and power to about 100 homes in Wairau Valley was shut down while repairs were completed.
- The Marlborough Express