A day-pack may have saved a man from serious injury when he was hit by a rock while descending Mt Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park.
Lion Foundation Rescue Helicopter pilot Dan Harcourt said the 37-year-old Waipukurau man and a cousin were two-thirds of the way down the mountain about 11am when a falling rock hit the man in his lower back.
Mr Harcourt thought the man's day-pack took the brunt of the impact. He was knocked off his feet and experienced sharp pains in his back and pelvis.
The rescue helicopter used a long-line to fly the man back to level ground, where he was treated for pain and flown to Rotorua Hospital.