updated 4/6/2007 9:31:45 PM ET 2007-04-07T01:31:45

Authorities say an air pocket in a man's car kept him alive for hours while his vehicle was upside down and underwater in a Wisconsin river.

The Chippewa County Sheriff's department says the man lost control of his vehicle in slippery conditions early Wednesday. The car spun around, hit a ditch and then rolled into the Chippewa River.

Passers-by notified authorities that a car was in about three to four feet of water.

Authorities say the driver crawled into the back seat of his car and found an air pocket. He stayed there while a chain from a wrecking machine eventually hoisted the car to shore.

The man was airlifted to a hospital and a woman at his home said he returned later that day.

The fire chief says he's lucky the car didn't slip into a nearby dropoff in the river.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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