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Tourism operators advise caution in The Coromandel

Tourism operators advise caution in The Coromandel

A commercial adventuring company is encouraging recreational climbers to contact them before planning any canyoning trips in the Kauaeranga Valley, Thames, following an accident at the weekend where a man fell 6m while abseiling.

Canyonz Tour guides helped guide two climbers to safety in the Coromandel Forest Park, after their leader fell 6m while abseiling a waterfall. The pair were part of a recreational group of four climbing in the Sleeping God Canyon.

Two in the group were able to find an emergency kit which was stored by Canyonz in Sleeping God Canyon while one of the group left for help. In the kit were blankets, which they used to keep the patient warm, until the arrival of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter.

The injured man was airlifted by helicopter, while the two remaining climbers were guided out of the Canyon by Canyonz guides Russell Hodgson and Wayne Darlington. Mr Hodgson cautions anyone else thinking of heading to Sleeping God Canyon to contact Canyonz first.

“At least two in a group need to be trained to a competent level and be able to perform on-rope rescues and manage the hazards appropriately," says Mr Hodgson.

"This is exactly the type of incident we were fearful of happening. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured man and his family."

Canyonz guides Russell Hodgson and Wayne Darlington have made several attempts to encourage recreational adventurers to contact them before attempting the 300 metre descent down Sleeping God Canyon to determine their experience and standard of safety.

"We're just thankful that we were in the Canyon and able to help,” says Mr Hodgson. "We also hope this incident will remind others of the associated dangers," he said.

The Canyonz crew are prepared for these situations and instruct others in rescue, wilderness first aid and canyoning.

“We always carry a satellite communicator for any such incident so the call for help can be made quickly and safely," says Mr Hodgson.

Sleeping God Canyon is regarded as an adventure of a lifetime that requires a good level of fitness and experienced guides with the required qualifications.


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