Man critical after river jump

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 13:33 24/02/2013

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A 21-year-old man is in Wellington Hospital in a critical condition after jumping 15-metres from a bank above Waikanae River and missing the water hole he was going for. 

Locals in the area say this is the second time in the past six months that a young man has been seriously injured jumping from the same area.

A Wellington Free Ambulance spokeswoman said the young man suffered multiple broken bones including spinal injuries and broken bones in both legs.

He was in a serious to critical condition, the spokeswoman said.

The incident, which happened just after 6pm last night, occurred at a spot known as Devil's Elbow on the Waikanae River.

The man was flown to Wellington Hospital  from the river bank, about 4km east of Waikanae, by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

The helicopter was able to land on a rock bed near the patient, who was being cared for by four Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics.

"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 water hole," said Dave Greenberg, Life Flight crewman.

"The jump was from about 15 metres above the stream," Mr Greenberg said.

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

Local resident Kevin Milne said the Devil's Elbow area was popular with young people.

"There are areas where people can jump from the river bank. Some of them are quite scary," Mr Milne said. - FairfaxNZ

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