Ill-prepared German tourist falls on icy slope

Published on : Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mt RuapehuAn over enthusiastic tourist climbing in snow and ice in street shoes was lucky to survive a rocky fall on Mt Ruapehu with only a badly broken leg, police say.

Constable Conrad Smith, of National Park police said the German man crashed about 11.30am near the top of the Te Heu Heu Valley on Mt Ruapehu.

”He slid some distance on the snow and ice and collided with an outcrop of rocks.”

He broke his left femur in several places and suffered other cuts. The leg was bleeding heavily but he was not critically injured.

Smith said the man showed some presence of mind and used his shirt to help stem the blood loss ”and managed to apply a makeshift splint by tying his legs together below his knees with his shoe laces”.

The tourist lost his cell phone in the fall and was unable to call for help so he dragged himself a short distance downhill.

”His screams for help were heard by another climber and his daughter who were fortunately in the vicinity outside the Knoll Ridge Cafe and went to investigate,” Smith said.

Taupo Greenlea Rescue helicopter dropped three Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation members to the site to render first aid, before the man was ”hover-loaded” into the chopper.

He was stabilised before being flown to hospital.

Smith said the man did ”exceptionally well to drag himself downhill far enough for his cries of help to be heard” but was ill-equipped for alpine conditions ”only wearing street shoes”.

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