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Rescue team hospitalised after truck plunges off cliff into Manawatu Gorge

The dramatic rescue of two people from a truck that plunged into the Manawatu Gorge this morning has left both of the truck's occupants in hospital, as well as two police officers and one volunteer firefighter who came to their rescue.

The truck’s driver and passenger were winched to safety from the wreckage of their vehicle in the Manawatu River, but the operation left three members of the rescue team hospitalised from the cold.

They were taken to Palmerston North Hospital by St Johns Ambulance.

Manawatu Fire Area Commander Mitchell Brown said the volunteer firefighter from Woodville was now recovering in hospital after exposure to cold water and strong winds in the gorge.

"He's thawed out from his chilly excursion," Mr Brown said.

"He's heading home shortly."

Mr Brown praised the emergency services for their work in the rescue.

"It's not the most pleasant of conditions, but those guys are to be credited for their tenacity in bringing those guys back from their truck accident and getting them back on dry land," he said.

"We're really pleased with the outcome, we have had truck accidents in the past in the gorge where sadly the truck going over the edge has resulted in the driver sustaining life-threatening injuries."

A St Johns Ambulance spokesman confirmed the three emergency services workers had moderate injuries related to being in the cold water.

A Palmerston North Hospital spokesman said all five people are currently being assessed by medical staff.

The spokesman said that a man in his 40s who was in the truck was now in a stable condition, but he was not able to give the condition of the truck's other occupant.