A pet dog has been hailed a hero, helping a badly injured New Zealand woman survive three nights in a ditch after her car crashed and plunged 45 metres.
The 63-year-old was rescued after her border collie’s barking led passing hikers to the wreck at the bottom of a gully, and alerted authorities.
The woman, identified by the New Zealand Herald as Kerry Jordan, reportedly set off from Masterton, in the Wellington region, towards Palmerston North with her canine companion Pat last Thursday. But the pair never made it.
Ms Jordan’s car crashed on the eastern side of the Pahiatua Track and plunged down a steep gully.
She was trapped in the wreck until rescue crews found her on Sunday, with a badly broken ankle and collarbone, and a crushed chest and sternum.
The woman’s friend Fiona Northe told the Herald Ms Jordan owed her survival to her dog, which she often refers to as "her son".
She said police told her Pat had kept her friend warm over three freezing nights, until he caught the attention of the two passing hikers.
The driver was airlifted to intensive care at Palmerston North Hospital, in critical condition.
"It's amazing that she lived, and you hope that pneumonia doesn't settle in, but she is pretty strong-willed," Ms Northe told the Herald.
A Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter spokesperson said the dog ran away when the helicopter arrived, but they knew Pat was nearby because the woman kept asking for him.
He has since been found, and is reportedly at a Palmerston North pound waiting for Ms Northe to bring him home.
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