22 May 2014

Driver freed from logging truck in river

3:49 pm on 22 May 2014

The driver of a logging truck that plunged into the Buller River on Thursday morning has been rescued and airlifted to Nelson hospital.

 Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter which helped search for the crashed chopper.

Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter which helped search for the crashed chopper. Photo: RNZ / Martin de Ruyter

The crash happened at Doctors Creek, about 3km north of Murchison off State Highway 6, just before 10am.

Helicopter, kayak and jetboat crews worked for nearly two hours to free him. The driver was taken by raft to the river bank, and then flown from the scene.

Sergeant Rob Crawford said it was a highly complex operation.

"Very tricky. Everybody came out and helped," Mr Crawford said.

"We called upon a number of companies. They gave their time and expertise."

The full extent of the man's injuries was not known but Mr Crawford said he was trapped in water in the cab.

"It was quite deep. The water was certainly in the cab, which presented problems with hypothermia," he said.

"A few of the emergency crew were also in the river, so we're just looking after them as well."

An investigation is under way.