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Passers-by free driver from burning car

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/01/2017

A young man would have died if a group of passers-by including an off-duty policeman and a television star hadn't pulled him from his burning vehicle, police say.

The 28-year-old driver was pinned into his seat by the engine bay and had a leg impaled by one of the pedals after crashing into a tree on the Hibiscus Coast Highway at Orewa on Sunday morning.

Michael Williams was first on the scene and roused the unconscious driver who was in considerable pain and unable to move.

The car erupted into flames as an off duty policeman and four others including Shortland Street star Pua Magasiva arrived.

The officer got into the car and freed the man from his seatbelt, while Steve Strongman, Joe Parsons, Craig Watson also combined efforts to pull the steering wheel and pedal from the vehicle to free the driver while battling the flames with fire extinguishers.

The driver was then dragged 30 metres away to safety. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and remains stable in Auckland Hospital after undergoing surgery.

"The actions of this brave group of people has no doubt saved this man's life. Had it not been for their efforts it's likely this young man would have died," Rodney Police acting inspector Jason Homan said.

"We hear a lot of bad things in our line of work, but it's things like this that remind us that there are a lot of good people out there."

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