Dutch woman alive after 30m fall
A Dutch woman has survived a 30-metre fall from a cliff near the Whakapapa ski field after a tobogganing accident last night.
Police said the woman had not broken any bones and was extremely lucky to be alive.
The 29-year-old woman and her male friend were tobogganing along an icy track when she slipped and fell about 30m into the Happy Valley area.
"Somehow she managed to land in a window of snow surrounded by jagged rocks,'' constable Conrad Smith said.
''A metre in any direction and it could have been a very different story, and if her friend hadn't managed to stop his fall there would have been no-one around to raise the alarm,"
The woman was visiting New Zealand on a working holiday and was working at a local lodge.
Her friend also slipped but managed to stop his fall by clinging to rocks. He called emergency services around 8.55pm.
A team from Ruapehu Alpine Rescue and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff used a snow groomer to lift the woman out of the valley. She was flown to Rotorua Hospital.
She was undergoing tests in hospital today to establish the extent of her injuries.
Police said it was "miraculous" she hadn't broken any bones.
"Hopefully this serves as a warning to others about the risks of this type of terrain. It was a crystal clear night so it was inevitable that everything was going to ice over and become treacherous. Tobogganing after dark is an incredibly dangerous thing to do."
The woman's family were yet to be advised of the incident.
Two men, one an Australian tourist, have died in the past four days while skiing or snowboarding on New Zealand skifields.
Bram Klaarenbeek, 38, died while being operated on in Waikato Hospital about 6.25pm on Friday after an accident on Whakapapa Ski Field earlier in the day.
On the same day, 29-year-old Sydney man Tim Stone sustained severe head injuries while snowboarding at Mt Cheeseman near Christchurch. He was flown to Christchurch Hospital, where he died on Sunday afternoon.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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