Man rescued after 40m fall onto rocks

08:02, May 15 2014
Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter
RESCUE: The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter has airlifted an elderly Auckland man to safety after he suffered serious injuries in a 40 metre fall onto rocks in the Whanganui River Valley.

A 69-year-old man was airlifted to Whanganui Hospital this afternoon after falling 40 metres onto rocks in the remote Whanganui River Valley.

The Auckland man, a earthmoving contractor, fell down a bank into rocky waters at 12.30pm, while descending a steep path 8 kilometres north of the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge.

The man and his 73-year-old sister had visited a monument for a relative who died falling down a waterfall there 75 years ago. Bridge to Nowhere Lodge owner Joe Adam was accompanying the pair back down the track when the elderly man stooped to pick up his sister's glasses.

"Next thing he was head over heels down a 40m track," Adam said.

"It was bloody horrible."

The man bounced three times on the way down and ended up underwater, but conscious, Adam said. He was cut and bruised and had a suspected broken pelvis and ankle, Adam said.


Adam transported the man back to the lodge by jet boat, and he was flown to hospital at 2pm.

The elderly man had serious internal injuries, said Chris Moody from Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter.

"I think he'll be okay, but he definitely needs to be in hospital," Moody said.

The Bridge to Nowhere Lodge is a wilderness location 20km upstream from Pipiriki and has no vehicle access.