Lucky es­cape re­called

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By CHE BAKER

Sur­vival tech­niques learned from years of tramp­ing, hunt­ing and climb­ing saved a 75-year-old Wanaka man from drown­ing af­ter the ve­hi­cle in which he was a pas­sen­ger plunged into the Turn­bull River. Wade Briscoe and his friend Ian Hor­rax, 68, were re­turn­ing to their white­bait hut 15 kilo­me­tres south of Haast when the ve­hi­cle Mr Hor­rax was driv­ing sud­denly left a four­wheel-drive track, crashed over a 6-me­tre bank and into the river about 7.30pm on Novem­ber 11. Mr Briscoe said Mr Hor­rax was driv­ing slowly through the rough ter­rain when ‘‘all of a sud­den the car was do­ing 7000 revs and the mo­tor was scream­ing’’. Mr Briscoe re­mem­bers the car side-swip­ing a tree but has no rec­ol­lec­tion of it go­ing over the bank. ‘‘We must have flown’’. His white­bait­ing mate, who may have suf­fered a med­i­cal event be­fore the crash, was sit­ting up­right but was mak­ing no sounds and was not com­mu­ni­cat­ing. ‘‘I felt a trickle of wa­ter at my an­kles. All of a sud­den it was at my knees and then my waist.’’ He was able to climb out a win­dow but not be­fore the car was sub­merged. ‘‘Luck­ily, the electrics were still func­tion­ing. I wouldn’t have got out oth­er­wise,’’ he said. Sur­vival skills learnt from years of be­ing in the out­doors helped him not to panic. How­ever, Mr Hor­rax was un­able to get out. The men shared two wind-up stands with three oth­ers and a hut that was ‘‘our haven in the bush’’. The pair had gone white­bait­ing about five times this sea­son and about three weeks ago pulled in 60 kilo­grams of white­bait. They were re­turn­ing to their spot af­ter vis­it­ing friends at another stand when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened. ‘‘We had a mar­vel­lous day. I’m glad we had a rich sea­son,’’ Mr Briscoe said. Mr Hor­rax was a keen fish­er­man and had been liv­ing in Wanaka for about 20 years. Mr Briscoe said he was an ‘‘out­stand­ing man’’ who loved to teach peo­ple how to fly fish. The cause in­ves­ti­ga­tion.






Barely a scratch: 75-year-old

Wade Briscoe at home in Wanaka. Mr Briscoe was able es­cape a sub­merged ve­hi­cle af­ter it crashed over a bank and into a river, killing his friend Ian


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