The driver of a truck and trailer carrying a load of fruit was lucky to escape a 10 metre plunge into the Ohinemuri River in the Karangahake Gorge this morning.
Emergency services were alerted to the incident at about 5am, reports Gold FM.
The driver managed to free himself from the wreckage with minor injuries.
The Paeroa Fire Service assisted the driver, bringing him up from the riverbank when they arrived at the scene.
The Kenworth truck and trailer carrying a load of produce was heading towards Waihi when it came to a bend outside the Talisman Cafe reserve area on the Paeroa side of the gorge.
For whatever reason the driver appeared to have continued straight ahead instead of turning.
He shot straight through the crash barrier and plunged an estimated 10 metres down the river bank, Paeroa Fire Brigade deputy chief Lindsay Hill says.
The gorge would likely be shut for some time on Friday to allow for a heavy haulage vehicle to be brought in to remove the crashed truck from the riverbed.
The NZ Transport Agency says people who use State Highway 2 Karangahake Gorge should expect delays and a closure overnight while a truck and trailer unit is removed.
The truck and trailer left the road between Waikino and Karangahake early this morning and fell down an eight to 10 metre bank into the river.
Waikato Transport Systems Manager, Karen Boyt, says from this morning stop/go traffic management will be in place so the contents of the truck and trailer can be removed.
“People can expect some delays today while the contents of the truck is removed and we make preparations for the big job of lifting it out of the gorge.
“The truck removal will take place later tonight when the traffic volumes are low so we minimise disruption to road users as much as possible,” Ms Boyt says.
The road is expected to be closed between 10pm and 2am while the removal operation takes place.
“People should plan for their journey and use another route while this work is undertaken,” Ms Boyt says.
-Additonal reporting Stuff.co.nz