Injured climber drags himself to safety

Blake McDavitt a RARO (Ruapehu alpine rescue) team member with the injured man.
Blake McDavitt a RARO (Ruapehu alpine rescue) team member with the injured man.

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A ill-equipped German tourist wearing street shoes fell on Mt Ruapehu today, leaving him with a bleeding, broken leg.

At about 11.30am the man fell from near the top of the Te Heu Heu Valley on the mountain, police said.

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

"As a result he suffered numerous cuts and abrasions as well as an open compound fracture of his left femur which was bleeding heavily,'' a police statement said.

The man 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.

He had lost his cell phone in the fall and was unable to phone for help.

"He then dragged himself a short distance down hill.

"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,'' the statement said.

The man was located the climber used his cell phone to call National Park Police and ambulance.

A brief clearance of low cloud allowed the Taupo Greenlea Rescue helicopter to get three Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation members to the site to give first aid.

"The patient was hover loaded into the helicopter and treated by an Advanced Paramedic on the Bruce Road where he was stabilised before being flown to Hospital,'' police said.

"While the man did exceptionally well to drag himself downhill far enough for his cries of help to be heard, he was unprepared and ill equipped for alpine conditions and only wearing street shoes.

- APNZ

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