Woman airlifted from mountain after 100m fall

HOBBLE ALONG: Rescuers assist a woman after she slipped 100 metres down a track on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
HOBBLE ALONG: Rescuers assist a woman after she slipped 100 metres down a track on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

A woman plunged 100 metres down a mountain face after she slipped on ice, and narrowly avoided toppling over a sheer cliff.

The potentially fatal misstep caused one of a series of rescues carried out over the weekend.

The Auckland woman was descending the summit of Mt Tongariro en route to Red Crater when she stepped off trail and slid on ice, Greenlea rescue helicopter pilot Nat Every said.

She slid about 100m before a rock broke her fall and, potentially, her ankle.

But Every said the woman was lucky not to slip further off the lip of a cliff.

"There's no way you would survive a fall off there," he said.

Another group of three climbers helped her back to the track and kept her comfortable until the helicopter arrived. She was flown to Rotorua Hospital.

About 3pm a man dislocated his shoulder while performing an "eskimo roll" while kayaking with a friend along the Tongariro River.

Every said the man's friend climbed more than 100m up a sheer waterfall to find mobile phone reception and call for help.

The Greenlea chopper was sent to assist the pair before flying the injured man to Taupo Hospital.

A Piopio man also got into strife in his backyard.

He was flown to Waikato Hospital with burns to his face and right arm after his barbecue burst into flames.

The accident occurred while the man was trying to light it on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, five men travelling from Fieldays in a dinghy were rescued on the Waikato River in Hamilton on Friday night.

Their boat became tangled in underwater debris near the Narrows bridge and capsized, forcing the men to cling to it for 40 minutes while it floated towards the city.

The men were seen clinging to the capsized dinghy and calling for help, and a bystander called 111.

Hamilton police deployed their river rescue boat shortly before 6pm.

One of the men became separated from the dinghy and was rescued by a waka crew training on the river.

Three others were rescued by the police boat and the fifth man managed to get to the shore near Melville.

All of the men were suffering from hypothermia, and were treated by paramedics.

None of the men were wearing lifejackets and they had been drinking alcohol before their journey.

"These were mature men who could have taken steps to be safer on this occasion," Sergeant Pete van de Wetering, of Hamilton police, said.

"It is questionable as to whether the boat was of adequate size to carry five men, especially with the current high river level and the fact it is running faster than normal due to this week's storm."

One or more of the men could have died in the accident, van de Wetering said.

At least one of the men, found clinging on to the edge of the boat, was minutes away from being sucked under water.

Waikato Times