Landslide blocks Dart River

05:13, Jan 06 2014
Dart River landslide
HUGE LANDSLIDE: A slip has blocked Dart River near Queenstown, forming a natural dam and causing flooding.

Queenstown's Dart River has been blocked by a landslide creating a dam that poses a hazard to trampers, campers and boaties.

The slip occurred about midday yesterday. The Department of Conservation and the Queenstown Lakes District Council are warning people to stay away from the area.

The Dart River's flow has dropped to low levels because of the dam. DOC said there was a risk that pressure behind the slip could force a surge of water through the dam. This would be a danger for anyone in the river bed below the slip, DOC senior ranger Richard Kennett said.

The river is blocked at Sandy Bluff, about 10km above Chinaman's Bluff.

Experts from GNS Science assessed the slip and the extent of the hazard.  

Kennett, said there was extensive flooding at Dredge Flat, upstream of the slip. Trampers had to detour 2km through forest around flooded parts of the track. 

DOC advised people to defer planned tramps on the Rees Dart circuit until the hazard was fully assessed. 

Queenstown Lakes harbourmaster Marty Black said boaties, kayakers and other recreational users should stay out of the Dart River until further notice.

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