Tree saves three from creek

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Three Dunedin men had a lucky escape yesterday morning, when their vehicle rolled off the road in snowy conditions in the Rugged Ridges area.

Kurow police constable Craig Bennett said three Dunedin men, working on the Aviemore Dam, left for work from Otematata where there was no snow on the ground.

“By the time they hit Parsons Rock area, there was snow on the road and going through the Rugged Ridges area they were the first vehicle on the road, so there were no other tracks.”

When the vehicle slid to the left, the driver apparently over corrected, sending the vehicle spinning out of control.

The car slid down the embankment and slammed into a tree sideways at about 7am.

Mr Bennett said the tree provided a lucky escape for the three workers.

“Had that tree not been there, [the vehicle] would’ve ended up in the creek on its roof.”

By that time, the snow was so thick, the vehicle would not be seen from the road. The vehicle has been written off.

The front seat passenger suffered a complicated fracture, with a bone protruding through his hand.

Seatbelts saved the two front seat occupants from more serious injury and the backseat passenger, who was said to not be wearing a seatbelt, walked away with a sore shoulder.

Mr Bennett, who was first at the scene, was joined by the Otematata Fire Service, but advised the ambulance not to come through “because of the hour of the day, and the treacherous conditions, I wasn’t happy for them to try and get through”.

The three men were taken to the Kurow Medical Centre before being transported to Oamaru Hospital. The front seat passenger was then airlifted to Dunedin Hospital for surgery.

By Rebecca Ryan