Elderly Man Rescued After Truck Plunges Off Cliff

May 14 (Reuters) - Police and firefighters used a basket and ropes to hoist an 82-year-old man to safety after his pickup truck left a rural road in Arizona and plunged 50 feet off a cliff, authorities said on Thursday.

The driver suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital following the crash, which happened early on Wednesday in a state park near the small town of Superior, 70 miles east of Phoenix.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman Mark Clark said it was not immediately clear why the truck had gone over the cliff east of the Queen Creek Tunnel on State Route 60.

"He was conscious and very grateful to his rescuers," Clark said of the driver, adding that he was fortunate the vehicle had not flipped onto its roof.

"It's certainly an area with cliffs and canyons that are a lot deeper than that so he's very lucky it wasn't worse," Clark said. (Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by Bill Trott)