Search back on for man missing over falls

HUNT: The Nelson Marlborough Rescue helicopter helped in the search at Maruia Falls.
HUNT: The Nelson Marlborough Rescue helicopter helped in the search at Maruia Falls.

A man is missing after he was swept over a waterfall only days after concerns were raised about the lack of warning signs in the area.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter said its team was called to the incident at 7.20pm yesterday, at the Maruia Falls south of Murchison, to a report of two men falling off the falls.

One of the men, a 55-year-old from Christchurch, had already been rescued from the water.

The man had been swimming in a pool above the falls and was sucked down one of the chutes and over the falls.

As a second man was still missing in the water, the helicopter assisted police by conducting an aerial search of the falls and the pool below.

It hovered and used the downdraft from its rotor to move river debris to try to locate the missing man but he was not found.

The search for the missing man resumed this morning, and searchers will be joined by the Police Dive Squad from Wellington about midday.

The first man was taken to Nelson Hospital with moderate injuries.

It's the second serious incident at the falls this week after a 60-year-old Belgium man crossed a barrier to take a photograph, lost his footing and fell four metres.

A group of kayakers, including Australian Jonathan Cawood, saw the man fall and rushed to his aid on Wednesday. They found him unconscious and lying face down as water streamed around him.

He would have drowned had the group not got to him, Cawood said.

Signs warning people not to go beyond the barriers had been removed recently, he said.

In November 2011, Ian Oliver Randall, 39, of Kaiapoi, drowned at the base of Maruia Falls, after he jumped the barrier and fell. The current was particularly fierce and dragged him down the river.

The Press