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Watch: Canterbury man's daring chopper mission to save tractor from floodwaters

A Canterbury man undertook a dramatic rescue mission yesterday morning after his tractor was left stranded in floodwaters from the Rangitata River, north of Timaru.

By Irra Lee

Fencing contractor Adam Graham told 1 NEWS he left his tractor on a farm he was working on Friday night.

Floodwaters rose overnight, so Mr Graham enlisted the help of a local helicopter pilot to rescue his stranded workhorse.

He said the pilot told him to jump on the tractor roof.

“I was a bit nervous to start with,” Mr Graham said.

“I wanted to try and eliminate water damage to it [the tractor].”

He said the whole mission only took a few minutes, and by the time he got underway, he felt “sweet as”. He said he drove the tractor to higher ground and then choppered back to safety.

Mr Graham said he’d gotten “tons and tons” of attention following the rescue.

“It’s crazy. I thought it was normal.”

Mr Graham said he planned to inspect the tractor for water damage tomorrow as flooding eases, but said it “should be good as gold”.

Timaru District Council announced a state of emergency and evacuations in the region around the flooded Rangitata River yesterday.