Two New Zealand men are thanking their lucky stars after having their lives spared when the brakes on their truck suddenly failed and caused the vehicle to become out of control.
Donald Robbie and Collin Howes were driving a truck laden with gravel on a hill when they suddenly faced potentially life-changing decision: Howes jumped, Robbie decided to try to steer the truck to safety.
The older man recalled his thoughts when the incident was occurring, he told reporters he thought: “‘Oh shit, I don’t think we’ve got any brakes’, so I rode it out there for a while, but I had to make a pretty quick split decision what I was going to do, and my choice was to bail out.”
“I think it was the right decision in the end.”
Howes was picked up by the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter with multiple ankle fractures.
The fractures required pins to be inserted into his leg, and he’s been told he won’t be able to walk on it for at least six months.
“But that’s all I got. Someone was looking after me that day.”
Robbie told sources he was driving his farm truck, laden with 4.5 cubic metres of gravel, down a track on a steep hill when the brakes suddenly failed.
“The brake just went to the floor, I pumped it and nothing,” he told reporters.
“[Others working on the farm] saw me going around the hill face, getting faster and faster. There was nothing anybody could do.”
Miraculously, he managed to keep some control over the vehicle, using a drain beside a hillside track for resistance.
His truck carried on down the hill for half a kilometre. At the bottom, it jumped over a culvert before eventually coming to a stop.
“I sat for a moment and thought, someone’s looking after me,” Robbie said.
Reflecting on their different decisions, Howes said of Robbie: “He knew the lay of the land, so he had a bit of an advantage, he knew where to run off. He did well, amazing that joker.”
Robbie was taken to Palmerston North Hospital, but discharged yesterday after being kept under observation overnight on Tuesday.