A FISHERMAN helped free Russian Nikollay Onopreinko, 29, from the car. He is in a Phuket hospital with head damage and unable yet to speak. Police say it was an accident.
PHUKET: A Russian man who drove a car into the sea from a clifftop tourist lookout on Phuket was rescued last night on rocks off the holiday island's coast.
The dramatic 250-metre plunge downhill by the Honda Jazz came about 11.30pm from Pa Dang, the site of Phuket's only wind-power turbine and a popular leaping spot for paragliders.
Investigators are waiting for the Russian man, known only as ''Nikolai,'' to recover so they can question whether he drove off the road by chance or intended to kill himself.
''It's amazing that this man survived,'' a policeman told Phuketwan ''It's a long drop down the hill into the sea.''
Kusoldharm Phuket Foundation rescuers and local council officers took two dinghies out about 11.30pm last night and found ''Nikolai'' in bad condition on a rocky outcrop, but alive.
A fisherman saw and heard the car's plunge and made a call for help.
Airbags deployed as the car hit the water, the rescuers said.
Doctors at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City said the Russian's injuries were remarkably slight considering the height of the car's plunge and his need to then escape the vehicle.
Divers probed the inside of the Honda but could find no signs that anyone else was in the hired car. It's not clear yet whether ''Nikolai'' was a tourist who misjudged the path down from the wind turbine or an expat down on his luck.
He was living in Suksan Soi 2, in the southern Phuket district of Rawai, and is thought to have reached the wind turbine last night from the direction of Patong.