Swimmer hurt in misjudged cliff jump

TIM DONOGHUE AND KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 11:13 25/02/2013
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B T Winters Photography

PAINFUL LESSON: A swimmer is taken to the Westpac helicopter to be transported to hospital after misjudging a jump into water.

Devils Elbow
SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT: Devils Elbow on the Waikanae River, where a man injured himself after misjudging a jump into the water.

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The 21-year-old man who suffered multiple bone fractures following a leap from a cliff overlooking the Waikanae River has been transferred to the spinal unit at Christchurch's Burwood Hospital. 

The Kapiti Coast man missed a deep waterhole at an area known as Devil's Elbow and landed on the riverbank about 6pm on Saturday. 

He broke multiple bones in both legs, suffered spinal injuries and was reported to be in a stable condition when he was flown from Wellington to Christchurch last night. 

The Westpac rescue helicopter was able to land on a rock bed near the injured man on Saturday.

"A friend said the man jumped from near the top of a hill and landed on the bank of the river instead of the deep waterhole," helicopter crewman Dave Greenberg said.

The owner of the nearby Reikorangi Pottery and Cafe, Wilf Wright, said it was the second time in the past six months that a young person had been seriously injured while attempting to jump into the river at the same spot.

There was no sign of swimmers at Devil's Elbow yesterday. The entrance to the waterhole was littered with crushed RTD cans, and there were more cans floating in the river.

Local resident Kevin Milne said there were several spots where young people liked to jump into the Waikanae River. "Some of them are quite scary."

Contact Tim Donoghue
General reporter
Email: tim.donoghue@dompost.co.nz

Twitter: @timdonoghuenz

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