'I will never forget': Hero truckie relives the day he saved woman from cliff edge

A Waikato truck driver credited for saving the life of a young woman who he found sitting on a clifftop says he will never forget that day - and hopes to one day find out how she is going.

Fonterra milk tanker driver, Phil Newton, was last year given the 2018 Truck Driver Hero Award for his actions last May, and has now been awarded Fonterra's Values Award for his actions.

Newton told Rural Today's Dominic George that he was on a usual run last May when he spotted the woman sitting on a clifftop edge at the Arapuni Dam, in the Waikato.

"I called dispatch, and they called police for me, and I went back to see if she was okay," he said.

"I rattled the fence to let her know I was there, she finally turned around - she was sobbing."

The Taupō driver said he had trouble hearing her, so decided to get closer.

Hero truckie Phil Newton said he was just grateful to be able to help.
Hero truckie Phil Newton said he was just grateful to be able to help. Photo credit: Supplied

"I said, 'I'm coming through'. I told her that I was just going to sit nearby so I could talk to her," Newton recounted.

"I just sat there and chatted to her  asked her what was wrong and said she could talk to me, tell me what was going on and what was going through her head."

The pair chatted until police arrived, who along with Newton were able to support the woman off the clifftop.

Phil Newton said he would love to know how the woman was going.

"I go across that way every month or so, and I always look to the spot where she was sitting, and I will never forget."

"I gave her my cellphone number, and said call me if you want to chat or talk. I would absolutely love to know how she is going."

Meanwhile the hero truckie said while he is proud to receive the accolades, he was just grateful he could help.

"Saving her life that day, that was all I needed."

Where to find help and support:

Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans - 0800 726 666

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Listen to the full interview with Phil Newton on Rural Today.

Rural Today with Dominic George airs weekdays 5:30-6am on Magic Talk.

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