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Woman survives 30m fall at Whakapapa

Woman survives 30m fall at Whakapapa

A Dutch woman on a working holiday in New Zealand has survived a 30m plunge off a cliff near the Whakapapa ski field.

The incident happened approximately 8.55pm on Monday, 8 August when the 29-year-old woman working at a local lodge was tobogganing with a male friend along an icy track down to Bruce Road.

The pair slipped and she fell approximately 30m down into the Happy Valley area. Her friend managed to stop his fall by clinging to rocks and was able to raise the alarm.

A team from the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation assisted Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff on site and were able to extract the patient on the front of a snow groomer to waiting ambulance.

From here she was airlifted in the Youthtown Trust rescue helicopter to Taupo and then Rotorua Hospital where she is still undergoing tests to establish the full extent of her injuries.

She is described as being in a comfortable condition and miraculously hasn't broken any bones.

Constable Conrad Smith of National Park, said: "She is extremely lucky to be alive. Somehow she managed to land in a window of snow surrounded by jagged rocks. A metre in any direction and it could have been a very different story, and if her friend hadn't managed to stop his fall there would have been no-one around to raise the alarm.

"Hopefully this serves as a warning to others about the risks of this type of terrain. It was a crystal clear night so it was inevitable that everything was going to ice over and become treacherous. Tobogganing after dark is an incredibly dangerous thing to do."

The family of the woman are still to be advised of the incident.


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