Driver slated after truck stuck

Police have called out the driver of a truck that got stuck under the Kaitangata Highway rail overbridge near Balclutha yesterday.

The incident was one of two in quick succession, just 3km apart, that kept South Otago emergency services busy yesterday morning. 

In the first, about 10.50am, emergency personnel rushed to what was initially described as a four-vehicle collision on State Highway 1, near its intersection with Cherry Lane in north Balclutha.

Initial reports described a crash involving three cars and a logging truck, leading to a call for the Otago Rescue Helicopter.

Following a closer assessment, it was established only two cars and a truck had been involved, a police spokesman said.

As injuries to the vehicle occupants were "very minor", the rescue helicopter was stood down.

The truck was sought by police for several hours, as it had left the scene before their arrival.

Police said they later located the truck and the driver was helping with inquiries.

A second alarm was sounded about 11.20am and emergency services were sent to the Kaitangata Highway rail overbridge, where a stock truck and trailer carrying cattle had become stuck.

Acting Senior Sergeant Chris Wakelin, of Balclutha, said the location was a known blackspot, and criticised the truck driver.

"High productivity trucks like this one are limited as to where they can travel due to their size and, as a professional driver, we’d expect him to understand the dimensions of his truck.

Emergency services work to dislodge the stock truck’s trailer from beneath the bridge. PHOTO:...
Emergency services work to dislodge the stock truck’s trailer from beneath the bridge. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
"There have been several incidents of this sort involving this bridge during recent years, and we’re talking to [Clutha District Council] to see if a solution can be found."

He said veterinary staff, KiwiRail engineers and stock agents had worked with emergency personnel to secure the scene, minimise harm to the animals and remove them safely.

richard.davison@odt.co.nz

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