Lucky escape as car plummets into sandhills

A Dunedin woman whose car plummeted off a beachside road in the city was described as ‘‘very lucky’’ to exit the vehicle uninjured.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand St Kilda station officer Josh Spence said the woman drove off John Wilson Ocean Dr into the sand dunes below.

The St Kilda and Willowbank stations attended the crash at 3.30pm today.

‘‘Fortunately she did not roll the vehicle and we’ve managed to stabilise it and get her out.’’

He said the woman did the right thing by staying put instead of trying to exit the vehicle herself.

‘‘The longer she stayed in the car, the more risk there is for it to roll.

 Fire fighters used their body weight to stabilise this car before securing it with a wire rope...
Fire fighters used their body weight to stabilise this car before securing it with a wire rope after it plunged off John Wilson Ocean Drive and down the dunes this afternoon. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
‘‘She did the right thing staying put until we got there because when you have a car on that kind of fine balance, movement might cause it to roll, that’s when she would really get injured.’’

Once the crews got her out of the vehicle, the car became unstable so crews tied a metal rope from the back to their truck until a tow truck could come and get it back on to the road.

A Dunedin woman, who declined to be named, said she and her friend were just walking along when they heard a series of loud honks.

‘‘We looked down the bank and the car was just there, so we called the emergency services.

‘‘We didn’t see what happened, but it did just happen when we walked over, because the honking immediately started when we were basically next to it.’’

She said the person stuck in the car did the right thing by not getting out of the vehicle when people were trying to help her out before emergency services arrived.

‘‘There are dumb decisions and there are smart decisions, a smart decision is to stay put because that vehicle is being held up precariously on some grass — she was very lucky, that car could have done a tumble.’’