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Condition improves for four-storey fall victim

By Hayley Hannan

Louisa Kuypers fell 30 metres from the Lion Nathan building.
Photo / Facebook
Louisa Kuypers fell 30 metres from the Lion Nathan building. Photo / Facebook

An 18-year-old abseiling window cleaner who fell four storeys off an Auckland building has improved overnight, according to her mother.

Window cleaner Louisa Kuypers was suspended off the side of a Lion Breweries building in Newmarket when she fell about 30m to the ground around 2.30pm yesterday.

An ambulance took her to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition. She has improved in hospital overnight, and was today in a stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Her mother, Josie Kuypers, was working a 12-hour shift at Waitakere Hospital when she was phoned with news of the accident. She taxied to Auckland City Hospital still in her uniform to see how her daughter was.

"Going in the taxi, I had no idea what was happening. I'd just heard that she'd had an accident, so that was a bit freaky. I was trying not to panic.''

When she arrived, the teenager appeared to be in pain and could only moan, she said: "She wasn't really with it. I think she knew we were there, but she was pretty out of it still.''

After falling an estimated four storeys, Louisa has fractured ribs and a suspected fractured collarbone. She has large bruises across parts of her body where she landed, Ms Kuypers said.

A laceration on her head appeared to be only superficial, and doctors said Louisa had no brain injuries, she said.

"To think she fell all that way and only fractured a few bones.''

Louisa's father Gilbert, two brothers Michael and Chris, and boyfriend Nick Son gathered with Ms Kuypers at the patient's bedside last night. Ms Kuypers and Louisa's boyfriend were going to stay all night, but decided she was just sleeping.

She said her daughter was still too "out of it'' to talk when she left last night, and could only make noises. It was still not clear what happened before the fall, she said.

"Hopefully today we'll find out a bit more.''

Ms Kuypers woke at 5.30 this morning to phone in and check on her daughter after the night. After the good news today, Ms Kuypers is getting ready to pick up Lousia's boyfriend and grandmother, Lois, to spend the day in hospital.

She has been fielding non-stop texts and phone calls from family and friends eager to see how Louisa was, with one friend offering to fly up from Wanganui yesterday.

Ms Kuypers credited her daughter's fitness and strength from outdoor activities as aiding her recovery.

Witnesses were "horrified'' and left shaken after seeing the window cleaner fall while on the job yesterday.

The Department of Labour is investigating.

- APNZ

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