The Toyota Highlander SUV which left Kingston Rd, crashed
through the road barrier and scrub and fell 30m into Wye
Creek early yesterday. Photos by James Beech
Two young British men living in Queenstown are
''extremely lucky'' to have survived when their SUV plunged 30m
from Kingston Rd into a ravine in an area known as the Devil's
Acting Sergeant Phil Hamlin, of Queenstown, said yesterday
indications were the 24-year-old driver of the Toyota
Highlander lost control on State Highway 6 and failed to take
a bend on the southern approach to the Wye Creek bridge
between 3am and 5am, crashing through a roadside barrier.
''The vehicle has then continued through scrub before
plunging an estimated 30m into the Wye Creek ravine,'' Acting
Sgt Hamlin said.
''The two male occupants were able to escape the vehicle and
one managed to scramble up to the road and flag down a
Because of his injuries, the driver was unable to reach the
road, so a helicopter was requested, St John Queenstown
station manager Craig Downing said yesterday.
Sgt Hamlin said a Heliworks helicopter and crew lowered a
St John intensive care paramedic into the ravine at dawn and
the driver was extracted from the creek. He was transferred to
a St John Queenstown ambulance and both men were taken to Lakes
District Hospital, Frankton.
''They were clearly distressed about what had happened and
very cold from not only their car landing in the water, but
from that time of the morning,'' Mr Downing said.
''They were treated for mild hypothermia at the same time.''
Traffic on State Highway 6 was delayed briefly to allow the
helicopter to attend.
The driver is believed to have suffered leg and possible
internal injuries and the 22-year-old passenger minor
injuries. One of the men was discharged from Lakes District
Hospital last night while the other remained in hospital.
A police serious crash investigator arrived from Invercargill
yesterday and inquiries into the crash are continuing.
Sgt Hamlin said it is too early to say what caused the crash.
However, it appeared both men were wearing seat belts and
police say these undoubtedly prevented further injuries.
Emergency services from Frankton, Kingston and Queenstown
''The rescue effort was a collaboration by all the emergency
services and without all of us playing our part extraction of
the patient would have been extremely difficult,'' Mr Downing