29 Jan 2014

Kayakers rescue tourist at falls

3:03 pm on 29 January 2014

Police have praised a group of kayakers who came to the rescue of a seriously injured tourist who fell at a popular waterfall near Murchison while trying to take a photo.

The 60-year-old Belgian crossed over the barriers at Maruia Falls when he slipped and fell into a crevasse near the front of the falls about midday on Wednesday.

The kayakers used ropes and other climbing equipment to lower one of their party down into the crevasse.

They then fashioned a harness out of straps and were able to pull the injured man out of the crevasse and on to rocks above the falls.

Constable Willy Squires says the actions of the kayakers undoubtedly saved the man's life.

He has been flown to hospital with head, spine and shoulder injuries.

In 2011, a man drowned after slipping from a bank at Maruia Falls. Ian Oliver Randall was with a group of workmates heading to Nelson for a Rugby World Cup game when the accident happened.