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Truck plunges into river in Manawatu Gorge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/07/2016

A man and a woman have had a lucky escape from a truck that plunged 50m into the freezing Manawatu River.

Inspector Sarah Stewart, the Manawatu area commander, is praising the efforts of Senior Constable Ross Andrew and Constable Simon Ashton who were first of the scene and spent an hour in the river holding the truck driver's head above water until other rescuers with equipment arrived.

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter winched the woman from the cab and the man from the water.

One of the officers was winched out while the other climbed out with the help of ropes and other staff.

The man and the woman were taken to hospital, and the police officers were also treated in hospital for hypothermia before being released on Friday evening.

"I am incredibly proud of the actions of both officers, they are heroes. They went above and beyond the call of duty and put their lives at risk to save the life of the truck driver and his passenger," says Insp Stewart.

The Manawatu Gorge is open again.

The truck is still in the river but authorities are waiting for better weather to remove it, which will require a road closure.

The road is reduced to one lane around the crash site on Friday night.

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