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Milford Sound: Search and Rescue

NZ Police CommCens Alert 15:40 2-12-2007 Wellington

Location of incident: Milford Sound

Incident Type: Search and Rescue

2 December 2007

Te Anau Police are praising the efforts of kayaking guides and skilled tourists responsible for rescuing a Canadian tourist following a potentially fatal fall in Milford Sound this afternoon (Sunday). The 23-year-old female Canadian student was visiting Milford Sound with three associates when they stopped to visit The Chasm, which is one of the area's highlights.

'The female decided to ignore and climb over a safety barrier and walked across a sloping rock ledge and stood in the Cleddau River,' Te Anau Constable Glenn Matheson said. 'She lost her footing while turning around to look at her friends and was swept down river, under the viewing platform, down a series of three glacier-carved terraces and survived at least a 10 metre drop through rocks and logs,' Constable Matheson reported.

During her fall the female managed to latch onto a small rock ledge, which she was able to drag herself onto. She remained perched there for approximately two hours, awaiting rescue. Police were called and a rescue helicopter was deployed.

However, prior to their arrival several local kayaking guides, assisted by onlookers, performed a successful rope rescue. 'It was extremely good work by the kayaking guides and a number of tourists who had the appropriate skills to assist,' Constable Matheson said. The female sustained minor bruising as a result of the fall.

'She knows she is extremely lucky she was not seriously injured or killed. She should treat herself to a Lotto ticket,' Constable Matheson said. 'She was terribly embarrassed by her actions and needless to say will not be attempting anything similar again.' Approximately 20 years ago a 10 year old girl was killed following a fall at the same location.

Dave Raynes Senior Sergeant

ENDS

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