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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trucky escape: Lorry driver who plunged 80ft off a mountain top and lived to tell tale

By Daily Mail Reporter

-Colin Tandy broke eight ribs, fractured both hips, split his pelvis and needed nearly 40 stitches in his face after accident
-Now hopes to represent Britain in new TV series, World's Toughest Trucker

I survived: Colin Tandy lies recovering in hospital after his miraculous escape and (right) the mangled wreckage of his lorry after falling 80ft down a mountainside in Marlborough, New Zealand

A truck driver who cheated death after plunging more than 80ft off a mountain top in a freak accident has made a miraculous recovery and now hopes to represent Britain in a bid to become the world's toughest trucker.

Colin Tandy broke several bones in his body and suffered horrific internal injuries when the 16-ton logging truck he was driving plummeted off the edge of a cliff in Marlborough, New Zealand.

He broke eight ribs, fractured both hips, split his pelvis and needed nearly 40 stitches in his face after his truck skidded off the road and rolled more than four times down the drop on the aptly named Tumbledown Bay Road.

Near-fatal: Colin Tandy's truck lies at the bottom of a bank after plunging 80ft

The 43-year-old, originally from Corby, Northamptonshire, and now living in Blenheim, New Zealand, also tore all of his lower back muscles and pulled five vertebrae leaving him unable to feel anything below his waist.

He said: 'It was about 6.30am and the sun was just coming up. I was going round a corner with sheer drops either side when the sun completely blinded me.

'I have never known anything like it before. My initial reaction was to slam on the brakes which I did and then the truck seemed to get sucked down into the drop.

'I actually remember rolling about four times. I was holding onto the steering wheel and was petrified of what was about to happen.

'I knew the sea was somewhere down below and my first reaction as I was rolling was to rip my seatbelt off as I didn't want to drown.

In a bad way: Rescuers prepare to airlift Colin after freeing him from the mangled wreckage of his lorry

'When the truck finally stopped rolling I somehow managed to climb out of the passenger side. The adrenaline was pumping through me and I was in a lot of pain. I just clung onto the stalk of a branch and wondered what would happen next.

'My hopes were lifted when I heard my colleagues - who has been driving behind - talking about the accident over the radio.

'I had to keep myself awake to survive. I wanted to pass out but I was so scared. Your whole life flashes before you, you hear people say that in the movies, but you don't believe it until it happens to you.

'It sounds crazy but I remember just looking up and staring at a leaf, it gave me something to focus on.'
Colin was airlifted to hospital and later medics broke the devastating news that he was unlikely to walk again.

But just days later and without a single operation the feeling in his legs started to return and Colin defied doctors by walking again.

The father-of-four, who served in the British Army for more than ten years before launching his own haulage business, spent just five weeks in hospital undergoing physiotherapy and has now made a full recovery.

Lucky Colin is set to return to work next week and also hopes to represent Britain in a new television series called The World's Toughest Trucker - a challenge which will see truckers taking on some of the world's hardest routes in a competition of skill, pace and mental strength.

He has reached the second heat of the challenge - created by Dragonfly TV - and hopes his brush with death will help him beat of stiff competition from around the world.

He added: 'The doctors were as surprised as I was at how quickly I recovered.

'My injuries were very severe and I have been told most people would need operations to put bolts and plates into them. I guess I am just very very lucky.

'I don't consider myself special in any way but it takes something like this to give you a new outlook on life.'



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