Elderly Napier woman's dog walk ends in fatal fall down bank

Emergency services at Perfume Point during the incident in 2014.
JOHN COWPLAND

Emergency services at Perfume Point during the incident in 2014.

A 73-year-old Napier woman died after slipping down a bank and becoming pinned under a large rock metres from a popular waterside walkway.

Frances Elizabeth Wilson was walking her dog on November 20, 2014, when she slipped or lost her balance, falling head-first down a rocky bank beside the boardwalk at Perfume Point, beside Napier's Ahuriri Estuary.

In findings released on Tuesday, coroner Carla na Nagara said it was unclear why Wilson slipped or fell from the broadwalk's grass verge down the relatively steep bank of medium to large-sized rocks that bordered the water's edge along the reserve.

It could have been the result of her feeling dizzy, being fatigued or having a cramp in her leg, the coroner said.

READ MORE: Woman's body found in Napier

There were no witnesses to the fall, the coroner said, in ruling Wilson's death an accident, with no suspicious circumstances.

Wilson died of "traumatic asphyxiation" after being trapped by a large rock on her chest following the fall.

A passing walker – alerted by Wilson's dog – found her pinned under the rock, which was so large he could not move it on his own.

It took the help of three other passers-by to eventually remove the large lime rock off Wilson. She died at the scene.

The coroner said Wilson had been "her normal bubbly self" when she drove to Perfume Point before beginning her walk.

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