A DRIVER had to be plucked to safety after a crash left his van hanging off a Burnley canal bridge this morning.
The man was just inches from plunging into the canal after his vehicle veered off Colne Road and smashed through the stone walls of the bridge just after 8 a.m.
But the injured man, who is in his thirties, was rescued from the stricken white Transit van by firefighters who said he had a very lucky escape.
Emergency services had to secure the vehicle with a winch after the accident to prevent it falling over the edge of the bridge.
Police shut off parts of Colne Road near the junction with Active Way as the rescue took place and rush hour traffic had to be redirected.
Firefighters strapped the driver to a stretcher before pulling him out of the back door of the van.
He was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital with neck and back injuries.
Crew manager Anthony Harrison, of Burnley Fire Station, said: “The driver was pretty distressed. He was in shock and was injured.
“We had to secure the vehicle with a winch for safety. We took a couple of doors off and got him in a neck brace and onto a long board and got him out the back.
“It could have been so much worse. It was pretty close to going in the canal. He had a very lucky escape.”
The cause of the crash is still unclear, but firefighters believe it may have been caused by a vehicle defect.