22 Jan 2015

Farmer hangs on in runaway truck

5:51 pm on 22 January 2015

An 80-year-old Manawatu farmer whose truck careered down a hill when the brakes failed says he opted not to bail out, instead trying to steer the truck through a water race.

Donald Robbie, of Tiraumea, was building a culvert and taking a load of gravel along a steep gully road to the site on his farm.

Mr Robbie told Checkpoint he had just gone over the top of the ridge when he tested his brakes and found they were not working.

"After I left where the culvert was, I was airborne for probably 20, 50 feet," he said.

"And then I managed to just steer it straight down the hill until we got on this flat and then I just steered it around until we were going uphill again."

Mr Robbie said his passenger, Colin Howes of Pahiatua, did bail out and suffered a badly broken ankle. Mr Robbie has a hairline fracture to a vertebrae.