Heroic kayakers save man's life at Maruia Falls

Tourist plunges into falls after crossing barrier

Last updated 13:41 29/01/2014
Maruia Falls rescue
Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter

FALLS RESCUE: The tourist slipped while taking a photo.

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A 60-year-old tourist who fell off Maruia Falls was saved by a group of kayakers yesterday.

Police praised the group who came to the Belgian national's rescue after he crossed over barriers while attempting to photograph the falls.

The man then slipped and fell into a crevasse near the front of the falls at about 12pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Constable Willy Squires said the kayakers, who were equipped with ropes and other climbing equipment, lowered one of their party down into the crevasse.

A harness fashioned out of straps was used to pull the injured man up out of the crevasse and on to rocks above the falls.

"What they did to get the man out of danger was incredibly brave.

"The three kayakers did all the right things to care for the man. They had him stabilised on the rocks with his head and neck supported. They had everything under control.

"This man is very lucky these men were on the spot and had the skills to save him.", said Constable Squires.

Constable Squires said the man had been submerged for a short period and suffered shoulder, spine and head injuries.

"I'd say he can thank these young men for saving his life today. If they hadn't been there, the outcome could have been very different."

He said the injured man was a visitor travelling in a camper van with one other person.

He was airlifted to hospital.

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