An Auckland couple's holiday trek through a mountain range near Nelson nearly turned deadly yesterday when one of them fell 200 metres down the mountain face.
The 46-year-old man was trekking with his partner when he slipped on ice and fell near the Matakitaki River Headwaters in the Spenser Mountain area.
He attempted to use his ice axe to stop himself from falling but the slope was too steep, St John team manager Jon Leach said.
The couple had activated their emergency locator beacon at about 4pm and waited with another tramper for a rescue helicopter to arrive.
The man suffered multiple injuries, including injuries to his face, chest, arms and legs. He was winched off the side of the mountain by the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter and taken to Nelson Hospital.
Nearby, in the Anakiwa area, a paraglider crashed into a bush and suffered further injuries when he made his way out of the steep gully.
The rescue helicopter responded after receiving reports that the 52-year-old Anakiwa man had crashed about 6.30pm.
He was treated at the scene before he was taken to Wairau Hospital in Blenheim with a head injury, a St John Ambulance spokesman said.
Another emergency beacon was activated near the Karamea Hut on the Heaphy Track at about 10pm last night, but the helicopter was unable to descend into the area due to low cloud on the west coast and in the valleys.