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This vehicle, which plunged off Victoria Bridge in January, was dragged out of the Kawarau River on Saturday.
The Queenstown driver escaped with only minor injuries. Queenstown Harbourmaster Marty Black said the vehicle could not stay in the river because of pollution and also because anyone who came across it who had not seen it before would probably call the police, thinking it was a new accident.
Airbags were used to lift the silt-filled vehicle, which weighed more than two tonnes, and a jet-boat helped tow it across the river.
A line was suspended across the river and the process mimicked a pendulum, Mr Black said.
It was ''a reasonably tricky operation'' which took about four hours.