Driver still missing after truck crash

A truck driver is still missing more than 24 hours after his truck crashed off bank south of Kaikoura.

The freight truck he was driving crashed off the road on the Hundalee Hill on State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura around 5.30am yesterday.

Rescue teams were winched down the 25m bank by helicopter and others abseiled in to try to find the driver yesterday.

An infra-red camera was also used in the search effort last night, but to no avail.

Southern police communications shift Inspector Rick Drury said that as of 11.40am today the man had still not been found.

The rear trailer of the unit had been recovered from the bank with a crane this morning and the rest was hoped to be recovered later today.

The road had reopened following the crash, but was currently down to one lane, Mr Drury said. It could be closed again today for periods while the truck was being recovered.

Hurunui Sergeant Graeme Crossan told Radio New Zealand this morning that a infra-red camera was used to try to locate the driver last night. However, it gave no indication that the driver was located beyond the wreckage of the truck.

The most likely scenario was that the driver was under the wreckage, Mr Crossan said.

"We'll be lifting the truck to confirm [that] or otherwise. If that's not successful, we've got cliff rescue teams and Search and Rescue are on standby who will be conducting physical searches of the cliff banks."

Chances of the driver still being alive were remote due to the impact of the truck and low 3C temperatures in the area overnight, he said.

- Brendan Manning of APNZ

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