Teen snowboarder survives 8m plunge into waterfall hole

The Ruapehu Alpine Rescue team managed to pull the "appreciative" snowboarder to safety. Photo/Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation
The Ruapehu Alpine Rescue team managed to pull the "appreciative" snowboarder to safety. Photo/Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation

A 15-year-old snowboarder miraculously avoided injury after falling down an 8m waterfall hole lined with sharp rocks and icicles on Mt Ruapehu this week.

Fate was on the teenager's side, as he had a cellphone on him with one bar of reception, which he used to call rescuers, who found him in the nick of time.

The snowboarder managed to avoid injury despite the steep fall, surrounded by ice and rocks. Photo/Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation
The snowboarder managed to avoid injury despite the steep fall, surrounded by ice and rocks. Photo/Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation

National Park Police Constable Conrad Smith, who is a member of the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation, said the teen was snowboarding out of bounds at Whakapapa on Tuesday by himself when he fell into the hole and "amazingly didn't get any injuries at all".

"It was ice and rocks all the way down," Smith said.

A waterfall hole is melt hole made by flowing water.

Rescuers managed to spot the hole only about half an hour to an hour before the area became clouded over, meaning they would have been unable to find him.

The teen fell 8m down an icy crevice on Mt Ruapehu. Photo/Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation
The teen fell 8m down an icy crevice on Mt Ruapehu. Photo/Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation

The boy had been in the hole for about two hours when rescuers got to him, and was "appreciative", Smith said.

"He was a bit cold, a bit shaken, a bit frightened. Many bumps and bruises, nothing serious."

Smith wanted to warn people not to ski or snowboard out of bounds alone and without proper equipment.

"Don't go alone and make sure you've got the right equipment - transceiver, shovel and probe - and you've got training and know how to use them."

- NZ Herald

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