Swimmer hurt in misjudged cliff jump

TIM DONOGHUE AND KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013

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A man is in hospital with multiple broken bones after jumping 15 metres from a cliff above the Waikanae River.

The 21-year-old, believed to be of Paraparaumu, missed the water and landed on the riverbank about 6pm on Saturday.

He broke bones in both legs, and suffered spinal injuries. He was reported to be in a stable condition in Wellington Hospital yesterday.

The accident happened at a spot known as Devil's Elbow, about 4 kilometres east of Waikanae, towards Reikorangi.

The Westpac rescue helicopter was able to land on a rock bed near the injured man.

"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 waterhole," helicopter crewman Dave Greenberg said.

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

There was no sign of swimmers at Devil's Elbow yesterday. The entrance to the waterhole was littered with crushed RTD cans, and there were more cans floating in the river.

Local resident Kevin Milne said there were several spots where young people liked to jump into the Waikanae River. "Some of them are quite scary."

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