Devonport cliff plunge: 'They didn't roll. They just dropped about 20m'

St John paramedics stabilised two people after they fell 20m down a cliff at North Head. Photo / SNPA
St John paramedics stabilised two people after they fell 20m down a cliff at North Head. Photo / SNPA

Teen friends seriously injured at North Head last night are believed to have climbed over a fence before plunging 20 metres down a cliff, narrowly missing a gun emplacement.

The pair suffered spinal and neck injuries and were rescued following a two-hour joint operation by police, fire and ambulance crews at the historic reserve near Devonport on Auckland's North Shore.

Auckland assistant fire commander Graeme Quensell said this morning earlier reports that a 33-year-old man was involved were incorrect. The injured pair were a 16-year-old girl and a boy of about the same age.

Both were taken by ambulance to Auckland City Hospital following the incident and a hospital spokeswoman said this morning the girl was in a serious but stable condition in intensive care. She did not immediately have details on the boy's condition.

Emergency services were call at 9.49pm and the fire response included firefighters from the Devonport and Takapuna brigades, as well as Auckland's high angle rescue team, Quensell said.

Rescuers were told the pair were among a group of young people at the reserve and came to grief after climbing over a fence. On the other side of the fence was a sheer drop, he said.

"They didn't roll. They just dropped about 20m."

The teens narrowly avoided a gun emplacement as they landed below and firefighters reached them by walking through tunnels, emerging almost at the site where the pair lay injured, Quensell said.

A fisherman on rocks below also helped direct rescuers.

Both teens were in a bad way when help arrived, he said.

"[Rescuers] spent a lot of time stabilising them, especially him ... the girl didn't appear to be as bad but she was very distressed, possibly due to a head injury. He was quiet, he was in a lot of pain."

A lot of time was spent stablising the pair before they were placed into scoop stretchers and carried through the tunnels to safety, Quensell said.

- NZ Herald

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