Two people whose car skidded off a road down a bank near Queenstown would have plunged into Lake Wakatipu if their car had not been caught by a tree, rescuers say.
A 46-year-old woman and a man in his 20s were in the car when it hit a patch of black ice yesterday.
The man freed himself and climbed back to the road to get help for the woman, who was injured and trapped upside down.
St John paramedic Craig Downing was lowered down the bank to free her after a two-hour ordeal.
Mr Downing said the car rolled several times before landing on its roof on the tree and they would probably have died if they had not been wearing seatbelts.