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Man suffers burns to legs from hot mud pool

News Release 

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Man suffers burns to legs from hot mud pool

A Rotorua resident has suffered burns to his legs after falling into a hot mud pool when the ground under him collapsed. The man is believed to be a recent arrival to Rotorua, having lived in the city for just three weeks.

Rotorua District Council Parks & Recreation manager Garry Page said the accident happened on Sunday evening in the vicinity of the Whakarewarewa rugby grounds at Puarenga Park. Mr Page said he understood the man had strayed from the main Puarenga walking track to look at geothermal activity and was some metres off the walkway where the ground collapsed. There was a warning sign in the location.

“We’re very concerned to hear of this man’s accident and our best wishes go out to him for a full and speedy recovery. I was hoping to visit him in hospital here in Rotorua but I’ve been advised that he’s been transferred to Waikato Hospital for further treatment. We’re not aware of his condition at this stage.

“Like many parts of our city, the walkway is in a well-known geothermal area with numerous hotspots. There are a number signs in the location warning people of the potential dangers and encouraging them to remain on the defined path for their own safety.

“I urge people to think about the geothermal dangers that exist in hundreds if not thousands of spots across Rotorua district. We live in a unique environment with many potential risks, but one that is largely safe if people act sensibly, stick to defined pathways, and adhere to warning signs.

“I want to remind parents in particular to ensure their children are educated about these risks, and to know where their kids are at all times. While this latest incident is serious, it could have had much more tragic consequences.”

Mr Page said the council was immediately reviewing warning signage in the area where the accident had happened and would increase the number of signs if necessary.

However he said with thousands of similar hot spots throughout Rotorua it was no more practical to fence off these areas because of their potential danger than it was to fence off lakes or rivers or roads because of the hazards they pose.


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